Four days after Jagmohan Dalmiya’s demise, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced that former India captain Sourav Ganguly will succeed him as president of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). The development came after Banerjee met Ganguly, along with the other CAB joint-secretary Subir Ganguly, treasurer Biswarup Dey and Dalmiya’s son Abhishek on Thursday.
A day before, Ganguly had met the chief minister and received her support to become the new CAB president. Aged 43, Ganguly will become the state association’s youngest-ever president. Abhishek will take over from him as joint-secretary.
“I’m thankful to my colleagues for giving me this opportunity. I’m not the substitute for what we’ve lost. We’ve a very big role to fill, but subject to the approval of the (CAB) governing body, I take this as a challenge and will do my best for Bengal cricket. I’ve worked with the CAB officials for 14 months and will speak to all members to decide the way forward,” Ganguly said. Asked if Didi batting for Dada had clinched the deal, the former India captain said: “I don’t see any politics in it.” He also welcomed Abhishek to cricket administration. “He has seen his father and has learnt from him. I believe he will do a good job. I’m very happy that he will be part of the set-up.”
As per the CAB constitution, the association has to call an emergent working committee meeting, giving a three-day notice, which will decide the date of the Special General Meeting (SGM). A 14-day notice is required to hold the SGM and complete the formalities.
The constitution allows the CAB 60 days to complete the whole process but, according to Gautam Dasgupta, chairman of the board of trustees, “sooner the better”.
“Now that everything has been finalised, we must do it as early as possible. Maybe we will do it after the T20 international between India and South Africa (to be played at Eden Gardens on October 8),” he said.
‘The right choice’
Dasgupta is the senior-most member in the CAB at the moment, having joined the association in 1977. His name was doing the rounds to succeed Dalmiya. But as Ganguly returned to Eden Gardens from the state secretariat and went straight to him, the senior administrator gave the younger man a bear hug. “It’s the right choice. He’s (Ganguly) the most competent to take over. Age or experience is not a factor and we will always be by his side to guide him. Sourav will bring in his captaincy acumen to cricket administration” said Dasgupta.
Appointing the president, however, is the CAB’s internal matter. Therefore, the chief minister’s involvement — Aroop Biswas, who is in-charge of the sports portfolio, too was present at today’s meeting — appeared to be a little unusual. “See, Dalmiya’s death has created a leadership vacuum. Someone had to play the lead and the chief minister came forward. I don’t see anything wrong in it. She has made the right choice and the CAB will be in safe hands,” said former joint-secretary Bablu Kolay.
A collective decision
Subir Ganguly insisted that the chief minister was never overbearing in her approach.
“She said this was a period of crisis and collectively we (CAB members) must decide the way forward. And collectively we’ve decided that Sourav is the best way forward. The chief minister praised me and Biswarup for our contribution to Bengal cricket. She was also impressed with the way Sourav has worked after becoming the joint-secretary last year. She advised us to work as a team, and we will work as a team. The CAB is not a divided house,” he told The Indian Express.
“The chief minister also wanted us to include Abhishek to carry forward Dalmiya’s legacy,” he added.
Save a few, former players have by and large failed in cricket administration.
Anil Kumble’s chequered stint as the Karnataka State Cricket Association president — he had the likes of Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad by his side — was the latest example. The challenge for Ganguly would be to set the record straight.
Srini meets Pawar
Jagmohan Dalmiya’s death has vacated the BCCI president’s post mid-term and backroom manoeuvring is on. Things took a sudden twist after N Srinivasan met Sharad Pawar at Nagpur on Wednesday evening. Grapevine has it that Srinivasan went there to convince Pawar to stand for the presidential election. According to a source, the patch-up has been ostensibly aimed at clipping Anurag Thakur’s wings.
The BCCI secretary has become very powerful of late. Former BCCI president Shashank Manohar is believed to be against the thaw but he doesn’t have much control over the developments. Srinivasan camp will support Pawar but the latter is not too keen to take the plunge as he has his political commitments, it is learnt.
On Thursday, when Srinivasan met his loyalists at Karnataka State Cricket Association in an informal meeting, no decision could be taken because of Pawar’s reluctance. Efforts will be on to convince the Mumbai Cricket Association president to change his mind. BCCI joint-secretary Amitabh Chaudhary succeeding Dalmiya, however, has been all but ruled out.