Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly believes that there is no harm in ‘popular’ people becoming a part of cricket administration and said that we need to look beyond surnames.
Speaking at the India Today Conclave 2019, Ganguly responded on criticism surrounding the appointment of Jay Shah, son of the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, as BCCI secretary. “You know we have this huge thing in India that if you’re a son or a daughter of a very powerful person, you cannot remain involved. The other day if you see Sachin, he was actually telling the people that treat my son as a cricketer. Not as Sachin Tendulkar. Forget about his surname and see whether he is good or bad,” he said.
Giving examples from outside India, Ganguly said, “Why should Tendulkar’s son be stopped from playing because he is Tendulkar’s son. It doesn’t happen in Australia, doesn’t happen in England. Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh played in Australia. They were brothers and both went on to play 100 Tests. Tom Curran and Sam Curran are playing for England. I see this as an issue. Everybody has to be judged as individuals.”
“Fortunately, I don’t have a son,” he laughed. “If tomorrow, if Rahul Dravid’s sons want to play cricket, they are ardent players of cricket Dravid’s sons. They consistently score hundreds in KSCA leagues. And if they are good they should play for India.
“I want to say the same thing for Jay Shah. So what if he is Amit Shah’s son? He has won an election. He has been involved in the Gujarat cricket association for the last 6-7 years. He should be allowed to be on his own. His father is a politician. He is not. I think he should be judged independently,” Ganguly said, putting his weight behind Jay Shah.
“It’s been just a month I have started working with him. He is adjustable, he is fantastic, he wants to work for the good of Indian cricket,” he added.
Ganguly said that politicians have held administrative roles at the BCCI for the last 30-40 years. “Even with Mr. Dalmiya, when he was the president of the board, Mr. Arun Jaitley was involved in the running of the game, Mr. Sharad Pawar was there. Madhavrao Scindia was involved in the running of the game. I am sure there will be others as well in the future.
“I don’t think it’s the first time and it’s the last time influential people will be running the game. Because cricket is so huge in this country. Nothing beats cricket in this part of the world. From that point of view, you will attract influential people. Some of them love the game, not because they are powerful.”
Ganguly also named a few cricketers including India captain Virat Kohli who hold Arun Jaitley in high regard for doing ‘a lot for cricketers in Delhi.’ “I know Mr. Arun Jaitley. He had the power to become someone in the board but he never did it. He was obsessed with the game. He has done a lot for the cricketers in Delhi. You ask Virat, Ishant. They would go gaga over him,” Ganguly said.