Sourav Ganguly becoming the BCCI president presents an arresting image for Indian cricket. It’s in sync with the Lodha committee reforms that called for cricketers in cricket administration. With Ganguly set to assume top office, Indian cricket will have one of its finest captains to helm the affairs of the game. He became captain in a time of upheaval, when match-fixing rattled Indian cricket at the turn of the century. Ganguly’s first priority was to end regionalism, which he did successfully. He also introduced professionalism by bringing in a foreign coach, John Wright, and initiated a fitness culture. Ganguly is taking charge of the BCCI at a time when the cricket board’s functioning needs to be similarly streamlined.
Over the past few years, India has significantly lost clout at the ICC. A cricket board that contributes over 70 per cent of the global body’s revenue, its money has been taken away on the pretext of creating a more equitable revenue distribution system. The ICC also browbeat India to change the scheduled 2021 Champions Trophy to a World T20. Indian cricket, at this moment, needs someone of stature as its representative to the ICC. As a captain, Ganguly always put emphasis on winning overseas. His team came close to winning a Test series against Steve Waugh’s all-conquering Australia in their lair. Fans would expect that the Indian team will shed the “poor travellers” tag under his presidentship.
According to the BCCI constitution, Ganguly has just 10 months to implement his vision before he goes to a three-year cooling-off period. There will be challenges. There is speculation that the BCCI under its new dispensation will carry more of a political undertone. But as a player, Ganguly knew how to get his way. As a captain, he dealt with formidable personalities like Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid. He persuaded Dravid to keep wickets in the ODIs despite the latter’s reluctance. Man-management has always been Ganguly’s forte. He managed to get his way even with a heavyweight administrator like Jagmohan Dalmiya. Also, he is a survivor, who played 113 Tests. As the BCCI president, however, he will have to learn to be more guarded. As a Cricket Association of Bengal office-bearer, he faced conflict-of-interest issues. But the BCCI office won’t allow him to wear many hats.