Opening statements: What Sourav Ganguly said and what it means
During his tenure as ICC president, N. Srinivasan was instrumental in creating the ‘Big Three’ financial model, drawn up by the boards of India, England and Australia. Srinivasan batted for larger revenue share since the BCCI contributed to over 70 per cent of ICC’s revenues. Under this model, India stood to earn at least $440 million over an eight-year period from 2015 to 2023. However, based on the profits, it could potentially even rise to $570 million.
When Srinivasan left the ICC in 2015, he was replaced by Shashank Manohar, who had jumped the BCCI ship, with the Lodha reforms around the corner, to become the independent chairman of the global body. He started working towards dismantling the ‘Big Three’ on the pretext of having a more equitable revenue distribution system. In 2017, as the ICC Board approved a new revenue sharing model by a 9-1 vote – India’s representation in ICC became lightweight. Subsequently, BCCI’s projected revenue came down to $293 million over the eight-year cycle.
Interestingly, the so-called equitable revenue distribution model failed to uplift majority of ICC’s Full Members. Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe are still reeling under financial crisis, while South Africa are fast slipping towards the red zone.
Ganguly found himself at the receiving end of BCCI ombudsman-cum-ethics officer Justice (Retd) DK Jain, who decreed him conflicted of wearing many hats. He was already the Cricket Association of Bengal president, when he was appointed Delhi Capitals’ advisor for the 2019 IPL season. That apart, he was also on the commentary panel.
Consequently, the former India captain was asked to pick one role. Similarly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, too, had conflict-of-interest complaints against them for their involvement with IPL franchises. The trio was part of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) that was set up in 2015 to take important cricketing decisions including appointment of coaches. Following the complaints, Tendulkar recused himself from the CAC and eventually it became defunct. An ad-hoc CAC comprising Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy was formed that picked WV Raman as the Indian women’s team coach and re-appointed Shastri as the head coach of the men’s team. When conflict-of-interest allegations were made against the ad-hoc CAC members, they duly resigned.
Conflict of interest complaints were levelled against Rahul Dravid as well, following his appointment as NCA director. His job with Indian Cements was cited as the reason. This prompted a not-so-subtle tweet by Ganguly: “New fashion in Indian cricket …..conflict of interest ….Best way to remain in news …god help Indian cricket!” To be fair, the CoA, too, found the conflict-of-interest clause “too rigid”.
In 2016, when the erstwhile CAC picked Anil Kumble as Indian team head coach, snubbing Ravi Shastri, the latter hit out at Ganguly, saying he was “disrespectful” by remaining absent for his presentation. Ganguly left the interview to attend a CAB meeting. He responded to Shastri by saying “he was living in a fool’s world”. Now that Ganguly is going to be the new BCCI president, social media has gone into a tizzy, with predictions about Shastri’s future.