Sourav Ganguly pulls off late coup

Telegraph India

Telegraph India

Author 2019-10-14 06:05:00

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Sourav Ganguly pulled off a coup of sorts when he came from nowhere to dislodge Brijesh Patel as the preferred choice for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)’s presidency.

While Sourav is set to take over as president, Patel, the former India batsman, has to be content with being the IPL chairman. Kerala Cricket Association’s Jayesh George is likely to be the joint secretary.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, Patel was “gracious enough” to accept the fact that Sourav would be the president. Patel is backed by N. Srinivasan, the former president, who is keen to represent the BCCI at the International Cricket Council (ICC).

“Both Sourav and Patel are great cricketers. Patel had been assured of the president’s post, till Union minister Anurag Thakur stepped in and proposed Sourav’s name. Mr Srinivasan was not too pleased with the late developments, but he had to accept it. The choice was unanimous,” a well-placed source said.

Sourav had gatecrashed into the race to be president, overthrowing the favourite Rajat Sharma, at the last minute in New Delhi on Saturday. The former India captain also met an influential Union minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet who has been playing a key role. That set the ball rolling for the Cricket Association of Bengal president, though he hadn’t been promised anything big.

Srinivasan was keen on two berths among the office-bearers. If Srinivasan still decides to put his hat into the ring when it comes to representing the BCCI at the ICC meetings, he will face stiff competition from Sourav.

The age-cap of 70 years could prevent Srinivasan from attending ICC meetings, but he will challenge that clause, saying it applies only in the BCCI.

Another strong buzz at the “informal meeting” in Mumbai on Sunday was that the introduction of a sports bill in Parliament, which could help overcome some key issues like the 70-years age cap and the mandatory cooling-off period.

“Once we get the Board in our hands and enjoy the support of the government, we can do a lot of things… We only need to hold the AGM as per schedule,” said another member.

A total of 30 state associations have been ruled compliant and eligible to attend the AGM by the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA). The remaining five state associations, including Srinivasan’s Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, and the three government units, will move the Supreme Court on Monday challenging the decision.

This move has also not been supported by all associations. “We don’t want any postponement in the AGM now. Let the Board start functioning as it should and not be run by the CoA,” said a member.

Sourav’s role has only raised hopes and no one wants to look back. “Sourav has been the ideal choice. He has a lot to give to Indian cricket. With his experience and dynamism, he can take Indian cricket forward. Thakur has done Indian cricket a great favour,” an influential member remarked.

Back in 2015, Sourav is believed to have played a huge role when Thakur was elected as BCCI secretary defeating Srinivasan’s choice Sanjay Patel by one vote at the AGM in Chennai. Four years later, Thakur has repaid Sourav.

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