Updated: October 7, 2016 5:02:36 pm
Which modern day cricketer would make a perfect BCCI administrator? It’s a speculative question that often gets asked during casual maidaan debates on the sidelines of a boring match, or by panelists participating in ‘save the game’ seminars. Most times, the talking heads would agree on the name of Sourav Ganguly. The country’s most-influential cricketer and inspirational leader, never shied away from a fight, he took on every challenge and wasn’t parochial; there wasn’t much dirt on ‘Ganguly, the captain’.
So late on Thursday, when West Bengal CM, Mamta Banerjee, intervened to fill the massive void left by Jagmohan Dalmiya’s death at Eden Gardens, she had it easy. (Should a CM appoint officials of an autonomous sports body, is a debate for another day). Maybe, she was merely endorsing an overwhelming choice of the thousands around her. In Bengal, they firmly believe, that Ganguly can do anything. Fit any shoe-size, however large. Tower over any giant, however towering. And for once, Kolkata wasn’t over-estimating the credentials of their sporting icon.
It is a populist appointment but it certainly looks good, at least on the first day of change of power.
Ganguly had taken over the reins of Team India during the days when the cricket world was still contemplating if the game was governed by ICC or dictated by some seedy syndicate.
Match-fixing got with it doubts and dilemmas. Today, too there are similar fears. The credibility deficit of administrators makes things worse.
The Ganguly Era, those heady 2000s, changed Indian cricket and the mood of the fans. Foreign coach, physios well-versed in modern science, trainers with global outlook got a fitter, sharper, happier Indian team recording historic home triumphs and a few epochal overseas wins. Ganguly had a way with his boys, and also the men, those stalwarts with better skills than him. He got the best out of them. In return he would fight for them when in meetings with administrators and selectors.
He needs to continue that same fight. On second thoughts, that’s the least he can do. Ganguly, by virtue of being the CAB president, can realistically draw the route BCCI takes at this crucial juncture of its journey. Something that will decide the path the game takes globally. With East Zone set to have a big say in the election of the next BCCI chief, Ganguly becomes the ‘Most Valuable President’ among those who head BCCI’s units.
By rotation, it’s East’s turn to pick the president. Ganguly doesn’t qualify to be on the BCCI hot seat as he hasn’t attended those mandatory number of meetings. But he has enough friends in the neighbourhood to decide who will be the ‘right man’. Ganguly needs to think hard as it will be an important call. In the days ahead, the SC-appointed Lodha panel will be suggesting reforms that can put in place a template which ensure good-governance. BCCI needs a president who truly believes in cleaning up the game. Ganguly gets another chance to lead a turn-around in Indian cricket.
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