BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly: ‘I will do it the way I know’
Sourav Ganguly signalled the beginning of a new era in Indian cricket after the almost three-year tenure of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators with the following words: “I don’t enjoy the word ‘control’ (in the full form of BCCI). It’s about proper functioning of the BCCI. We have to be in the thick of things because, at the end of the day, the responsibility has been put on us to get things going in the right direction.”
One of India’s most celebrated captains taking over as the head of the richest cricketing body in the world may pave the way for a different way of doing things in the BCCI, even though his tenure will last only nine months.
“I’ll do it the way I know,” Ganguly said after the Annual General Meeting in Mumbai, where he formally took over. “No compromise, on the basis of credibility, corruption-free and same for all. This is a new start for the BCCI, fortunately or unfortunately, similar to the situation when I took over as India captain,” he reflected on the parallels to the period just after the match-fixing scandal of 2000.
“Things need to be brought back in place, reforms need to be done, huge amounts of money needs to be paid to state associations.”
Clad in an India blazer from his playing days, Ganguly admitted that he and his team of relatively young office-bearers are stepping into the dark to a certain extent after the 33 months during which Vinod Rai and his CoA co-members ruled the show.
“The accounts for the past three years have not been passed. That has to be done at an AGM. This was a general body meeting. We’ll call an AGM in three weeks’ time and pass it. There was no AGM for the past three years, no Working Committee meetings and other such gatherings. We have been briefed a bit about various matters, but we will have to see for ourselves.”
The new BCCI president made it clear that the focus of his regime will be cricket and cricketers, including those plying their trade at the first-class level. “In the last three years, the number of domestic games has increased to almost 2,000. A lot of new teams have come in. We have to look at first-class cricket, both in structural and financial terms. That will be the first thing we’ll do and we’ll get it done before the actual Ranji Trophy season starts. We have to keep the Ranji Trophy as competitive as possible, because from there come the likes of Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma,” the former Cricket Association of Bengal president said.
‘Kohli, the most important man’
Ganguly unhesitatingly described Kohli as the “most important man” in Indian cricket and said the job of the BCCI was to “support him” and help him make Team India the best in the world.
“It’s a fantastic side, yes, you can say they haven’t won the World Cup but you don’t win World Cups every time.”
Referring to suggestions that the team management — Kohli, head coach Ravi Shastri and other coaching staff — had been calling the shots and getting their way on most issues during the CoA’s tenure, the new BCCI president said “our job is to make their life easier. I have been a captain myself and understand from that position and we will deal with it. We’ll work together on the basis of performance. There will be opinions shared and discussions on issues. We’re here to accommodate. Everybody will be respected.”
As far as Dhoni’s cricketing future is concerned, the new BCCI chief, who played under the wicketkeeper towards the end of his career, said he will have a discussion with the player in question, and drew parallels with a particular stage of his own career.
“It depends on him (Dhoni). Even when I was left out and when the entire world said he will never make it, I believed in myself and came back and played for four years. Champions don’t finish quickly. I don’t know what is in his mind, what he thinks about his career. We will leave at that. He is one of the greats of the game. Over a period of time, his achievements, when you sit down and take note, you say wow. So, when I am around, everybody will be respected,” Ganguly added.
Working with the ICC
There has been a school of thought that under the CoA, India lost its dominance in the ICC on matters cricketing and financial. Ganguly said one of his jobs will be to get what is rightfully India’s share. “We’re to get $372million over the next five years from the ICC. A lot of it is back-loaded because India will be hosting two major ICC events — the 2021 World T20 and the 2023 World Cup. We’ll make sure we get our due.”
Some of the major state cricket associations of the country, such as Tamil Nadu and Haryana, were ineligible for the BCCI AGM as their revised constitutions were deemed non-compliant by the CoA. Ganguly said the door can’t be shut on them.
Conflict of interest has been a major bone of contention for cricketers, both present and former. Ganguly himself fell foul of the norm as he was wearing multiple hats at one time.
Members of the original Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) — comprising Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman — found themselves on its wrong side. The next one — consisting of Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy — had to step down because of similar charges. “A new CAC will have to be appointed and we’ll have to see that its members have no conflict,” is all Ganguly offered in this regard.