No time to lose for Sourav Ganguly and team
CHENNAI: Soon after Sourav Ganguly’s ascent to the post of BCCI president got confirmed late on Sunday evening, WhatsApp displays of some of those present at the meeting in the Mumbai hotel started changing into selfies with the man in the hot seat. Representatives of various state associations alright, they are also fans. It showed the new chief’s popularity among the set of people he will be presiding over, for the next 9-10 months or so at least.
That is one catch this new BCCI has decided to embrace. President Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah and joint-secretary Jayesh George all have to demit office around July-August next year and take the mandatory cooling-off period. They will be completing six years in office by then. This means after a lot of effort to select the candidates, the brainstorming has to start afresh. A new set of officials will have to be elected unless the rule changes.
Some of those who attended the meeting of former and current officials reckoned it was the lack of candidates who don’t face the cooling-off break that forced them to opt for persons who will become ineligible in 2020. “We thought it’s better to go with the best possible options instead of counting how many months remain before they take the break. Rebuilding image is priority and we have the right men in different positions to take care of everything,” said a BCCI veteran who was part of deliberations.
Matters expected to test Ganguly the most are not directly related to cricket. In full charge of a state unit for four years after the death of Jagmohan Dalmiya, the 47-year-old has had the time to see how things work in BCCI. That he succeeded in influencing members to choose him in the face of competition shows he is getting a hang of this, even if it means he enjoyed support from influential quarters.
Getting good at this game of survival separates him from other former India captains like Anil Kumble or Dilip Vengsarkar, who could not last in administration for as long as they would have liked. But, as they say in cricket, he has just started a new innings.
In his four years as president of Cricket Association of Bengal, Ganguly has been proactive on the cricket front. He has done the much-needed work of upgrading the underground drainage system at Eden Gardens and ordered changes in the nature of pitches for local cricket. Those who work under him reckon he is quick in identifying these problems and addressing them. So cricketers can expect things to get better with Ganguly at the helm.
Ganguly and other candidates for the various posts will have their first meeting in Mumbai on Tuesday after the scrutiny of nominations. It will be more of a team-building exercise and the new officials will formally start functioning after the AGM on October 23. Once they get down to business, expectations will be high of the first BCCI office headed by a former India captain.
Drive to rebuild image
BCCI has not been in greatest of position for the last three years. Its image has got tarnished. It’s a great opportunity for me to do something good. In the next few months, we can put everything in place and bring back normalcy in India again.
First-class first priority
We will speak to everyone but my biggest priority will be to look after first-class cricketers. I had requested the CoA but they didn’t listen. That’s the first thing I will do, look after the financial health of first-class cricketers. Their remuneration needs to be increased manifold.
Conflict of interest
I am not sure whether we will get the services of the best cricketers in the system, because they will have other options to avail. Because if they come into the system and not get to do what is their livelihood, it is difficult for them to be part of this system. This needs to be sorted as it is another very serious issue.
Regaining position in ICC
That’s one area we will have to take care of, because in the last 3-4 years, we have not received the kind of money we deserve. India generates 75-80% per cent of global cricket revenue, so that’s going to be one of the big agendas.
Nothing matches captaincy
Nothing can beat being an India captain. In 2000, when I was made the captain, there were issues in Indian cricket. I was looked at someone who could do the job. In this case, it’s not about whether you are player or not, it’s about the ability.
Sourav Ganguly (Bengal)
Jay Shah (Gujarat)
Mahim Verma (Uttarakhand)
Arun Singh Dhumal (Himachal)
Jayesh George (Kerala)
Prabhtej Singh Bhatia (Chhattisgarh)
Khairul Jamil Majumdar (Mizoram)
IPL GC member
Brijesh Patel (Karnataka)