Saving cricket's image
Sourav Ganguly, a battler who rescued Team India from the demoralising depths of the betting scandals of the 1990s, has his task cut out as BCCI president. The smell of the personal ambitions of political and cricket dynasts and the stench of corruption in the premier leagues of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, which are infested with cricket bookmakers owning teams through benamis, must be tackled first. To resuscitate cricket from the image hit of the IPL betting scandal, that led to the 33-month rule of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators, will be his greatest challenge. His personal rapport with the BJP's emerging NextGen cricket administrators in Amit Shah's son Jay (secretary) and former BCCI president Anurag Thakur's brother Arun Dhumal is a positive towards restoring cricket admin in the hands of elected representatives, the only democratic way.
Cricket association representatives have done well in plumping for the independent thinking abilities of the upright and straightforward Ganguly over the N. Srinivasan proxy in former Test player Brijesh Patel. It is Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan's peccadilloes in betting from the players' dugout that engendered this second big moral crisis in cricket, leading to the Supreme Court ordering the takeover of cricket administration. Even then, Gurunath's wife, Rupa, has been elected TNCA president. The illusion that only the former strongman administrator can run cricket must be dispelled if the BCCI is to move on to using the billions of rupees at its disposal. Any return to the favours and bribes system must go, and Sourav is best qualified to bring this about. The fair name of cricket is at stake, and the Supreme Court can consider examining the Lodha reform of cooling off period so that Ganguly may bring about the image change cricket so badly needs when Team India is performing so splendidly on the field.