Vikram Limaye hasn’t always counted cricket as his No.1 sport. Growing up, he played school cricket for Bombay Scottish. But he’s been more of a tennis guy, having even represented the state at a junior level. The veteran finance expert and present CEO and Managing Director of IDFC still lists playing tennis among his foremost interests. Somehow though, cricket still remains a deep-rooted passion for the 50-year-old.
“You cannot live in Shivaji Park and not be in love with cricket,” Limaye tells The Indian Express. It’s a day where his cricket connection grew a lot deeper if anything. Just a few hours earlier, he was named in the four-member administrative body appointed by the Supreme Court to run the affairs of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). And Limaye, who comes in with a vast and diverse experience in the world of finance spanning over 25 years, still hasn’t gotten over the surprise of the unexpected responsibility that has come his way.
“I hadn’t thought of this in my wildest dreams. I’m more than happy to contribute in terms of better governance in the country. I consider it as an honour since it’s a Supreme Court appointment. I’ll do my best to contribute to making sure that from a governance standpoint that whatever needs to be done is done in the manner that it’s supposed to be done,” he says.
In a way, the chance to play a role in enhancing the governance structure of the BCCI fits right into Limaye’s bucket-list. For, it offers him a perfect opportunity to fulfil his deep desire to involve himself in “public service”. It’s after all one of the chief reasons that prompted the Wharton alumnus to close his illustrious Wall Street chapter—he spent eight years performing various roles for Credit Suisse First Boston—back in 2005 and return home to Shivaji Park. It’s the same drive that also convinced him to be a part of IDFC.
“I have always had a deep desire for public service. When I came to India, my objective was to commit some time to public service. In that context, IDFC happened based on a conversation with Mr Deepak Parekh. It seemed like the right intersection between my desire to do something that was of national importance in terms of the country’s infrastructure while also using my financial services experience to turn around the financial institutions,” he recalls now.
During his tenure with IDFC, Limaye has also contributed to various committees of government in matters relating to markets, infrastructure, economy and foreign direct investment among other things. And Limaye too admits that his new role as BCCI interim administrator will fall into the same category.
“This latest opportunity I view as another way to contribute to nation-building in terms of governance in key institutions,” he says. Limaye reveals to have called his soon-to-be colleague Vinod Rai, former CAG, as soon as he learnt about the appointments by the Supreme Court but is still waiting to find out what his exact role would be in the coming days. Rai, who will be interim-chief of the BCCI, referred to himself as a ‘night-watchman’ in the context of his role in the transformation if not overhaul of the Indian cricket board. Limaye too admits that the responsibility of the administrative body will be to ensure a smooth transition of power to the newly-elected apex council based on the Lodha reforms.
“I don’t think we’ll be a permanent board anyway. The idea is to make sure that you put the right governance framework in place and the right kinds of people occupy the positions at the state and central level. Then we will step aside. They have management people there, a CEO and a treasurer. They will be running the day-to-day running but they will have to follow the directions of this board,” he says.
Even though his busy globe-trotting schedule hasn’t allowed him the time always, Limaye has kept himself abreast with the happenings in the cricket world, including the drama surrounding the BCCI v Lodha committee battle that’s waged over the last year or so. and his family still reside in the same apartment in Shivaji Park, which has housed both his father and grandfather and is also where he grew up. The ghar wapsi, he reveals was inevitable and always on the cards.
“Even though I went to the US for my studies and I worked there, the intention was never to settle down there. I always wanted to come back to India and a raise a family here,” he says.
What it’s done is also brought him back to his cricketing roots. Over the next few weeks though his tryst with cricket will not be restricted to simply soaking in the irresistible sounds of willow on leather from Shivaji Park Gymkhana; it’ll also entail a 13-km journey further south to the BCCI headquarters at the footsteps of the Wankhede Stadium