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Thursday, July 19, 2018

BCCI: Captain Shashank Manohar jumps off burning deck

BCCI president Shashank Manohar resigns in bid to become ICC’s chairman even as Board braces for SC directed reforms.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Kolkata | Updated: May 11, 2016 5:10:03 pm
shashank manohar, shashank manohar resigns, shashank manohar bcci, bcci, bcci india, bcci cricket, icc, icc cricket, cricket news, cricket Shashank Manohar resigns at a time when the Supreme Court is hearing a case regarding a restructuring of the BCCI. (Source: Express file)

Minutes after the Supreme Court set a date – June 29 – for next hearing on the ongoing case to restructure and overhaul BCCI, after admonishing the cricket board on the resistance to reforms, came an announcement from Shashank Manohar.

He tendered in his resignation from the BCCI president’s post, a move that will facilitate his candidature for ICC chairman’s post. Manohar’s resignation leaves Anurag Thakur, the current BCCI secretary, and Gokaraju Gangaraju, vice-president, as front runners for the role of BCCI president.

Both, incidentally, are members of parliament from the BJP.

However, Manohar’s move to disassociate with BCCI and hitch his stars with ICC has upset a section in the BCCI.

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“The BCCI is under pressure at the moment and it needs a strong leadership. Leaving his colleagues in the lurch, is not good leadership,” an office bearer of the Indian cricket board told The Indian Express, demanding anonymity.

Even in just eight months as the president, Shashank Manohar seemed to have created a sharp division within the BCCI. Assessments followed his more or less predictable resignation with his loyalists lauding him for taking “some important steps” to help the cricket board restore its credibility, while few others have criticised.

Apart from his ambition to become the ICC chairman, the Lodha Committee recommendations to overhaul the BCCI structure and functioning, too, played a part. According to an insider, Manohar became frustrated with the ongoing legal wrangles and opted for a safe route. The Supreme Court has already said it would prevent all attempts to “filibuster” or “prolong” the much-needed reforms in the administration of cricket in India.

Push for ICC chairman post

On the face of it, Manohar’s decision to step down from the BCCI hot seat has a lot to do with the ICC constitutional change. The world body will elect its new chairman — a position Manohar currently holds — ater this month and as per the amendment, the new appointee will be independent; without any allegiance to his home board.

Severing ties with the BCCI allows Manohar to become the new ICC chairman for an unbroken five-year stint.

In April 2016, in a meeting in Dubai, ICC decided that its chairman will be an independent one and will be elected in a secret ballot in May. “The election process will be overseen by the ICC’s independent Audit Committee Chairman and all present and past ICC directors will be eligible to contest the election. However, candidates can only be nominated by a fellow ICC director who, in turn, will be allowed to provide no more than one nominee. Any nominee with the support of at least two Full Member ICC directors will be put forward as a candidate for election,” the ICC release had stated last month.

The 2013 IPL spot-fixing and betting controversy severely dented the BCCI’s image and Manohar became a unanimous choice to play the lead following Jagmohan Dalmiya’s death in September last year.

The cricket board had already started its image makeover process, and after Manohar officially took charge in October – his second term – he tried to facilitate the efforts. A lot of things, from the BCCI constitution to tenders, have been put on public domain. An independent ombudsman has been appointed to look into the conflict of interest issue. A CEO has been roped in as per the Lodha Committee recommendation.

Manohar’s decision as the ICC chairman to scrap the 2014 revenue-sharing model that favoured the ‘Big Three’, however, didn’t go down well with a large section of the BCCI and the affiliates. Doing away with the restructuring (a six per cent cut) means the BCCI would be receiving about Rs 1,000 crore less per year.

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When are elections due?

The election process for the ICC chairman will start at “some stage this week”, an ICC spokesperson told Indian Express. “The ICC has not announced dates of the election process. It’s a two-stage process. Each director can nominate one candidate who can either be a past or present director. Secondly, only nominees with the support of two Full-Member directors will be eligible to contest the election.”

Interesting times are ahead for Indian cricket. A possible Supreme Court triggered overhaul, a change in leadership, and an Indian in race for the ICC chairman.

The reforms Manohar introduced 

When Shashank Manohar took office in October he spoke about giving the board a much-needed image makeover.and ‘bring it back to its original reputation’. And immediately into his second stint at the helm, it looked like he had brought a broom along to clean up the long-standing mess at the BCCI corridors of power as he went about announcing a number of unprecedented reforms.

Eventually though, while acknowledging some of the steps he had taken, the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha committee insisted that the proposals though “in the right direction” were neither “comprehensive” nor “substantive”.”The need of the hour is not cosmetic but fundamental change,” the report said.

Nevertheless we look at some of the amendments that he brought forward in his nearly seven-month reign.

* Framing of rules and regulations for deal with the conflict of interest menace with regards to players, administrators and support staff. Manohar subsequently circulated a three-page document with a number of proposals that would prevent players from having business interest in a player management company.

* The appointment of Justice AP Shah as the ombudsman, an independent observer to look into complaints relating to conflict of interest.

* Making the BCCI more transparent by putting up balance sheets and board constitution on official website

* Appointing a CEO in place to bring more professionalism to the workings of the board

* Having an independent audit of the funds disbursed to all the member associations of the BCCI to make sure that it’s spent strictly on cricketing activities and development.

* Breathing new life into the National Cricket Academy (NCA) to strengthen the bench-strength of the Indian national team.

* Clamping down on the president’s arbitary powers, starting with his voting rights during AGMs

* Breaking the stranglehold of a few state associations over hosting Test matches by adding five new venues as potential centres for the traditional format

* Thinning down the IPL governing council by reducing the number of members on board from 23 to 5.

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