Proactive statements and crystal clear views expressed in interviews indicate that the nine-month tenure of one of India’s most decorated captains, Sourav Ganguly, may become a historical game-changer for the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI). Sourav, by becoming the 39th president of the BCCI, ends a tumultuous 33-month reign of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators.
In this most troublesome period, the nation’s sports lovers have seen the unilateral actions of two warring administrators that diminished the BCCI in the International Cricket Council’s eyes. Ganguly is the unanimous nomination for the post of BCCI president, along with Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s son Jay as the secretary, but Ganguly will have a curtailed tenure of around nine months only, for he would need to demit office by the end of July next year as per the provisions of new constitution. It stipulates a ‘cooling off’ period mandatory after six years in office.
Whatever the CoA may claim, the reality is that even after 33 months’ exercise, the BCCI has not been successful to come out of the clutches of N. Srinivasan, Niranjan Shah, and Anurag Thakur. The appointment of Brijesh Patel as IPL chairman shows in which direction the wind is flowing.
Patel is a well-known staunch supporter of Srinivasan’s; his loyalty will be watched with interest. Ganguly’s relation with Patel will be a decider of future. Ganguly’s policies—Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s international future, day/night Test cricket, permanent Test centres—will also be scrutinized.
Ganguly will make use of his experience as the secretary and later president of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). He has set some goals like the restructuring of first-class cricket and streamlining the administration. With conflict of interest rules being an impediment, Ganguly will face the challenge of having quality cricketers on board as far as the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) and national selection committee are concerned. “It’s a great opportunity for me to do something good,” said the former India captain, who will have to demit office in July.
Minister of State for Finance and former BCCI president Anurag Thakur’s younger brother Arun Dhumal is the treasurer of BCCI now, while Kerala’s Jayesh George is the joint secretary and Mahim Verma of Uttarakhand the new vice-president. Nine months is a short period and it also needs to be seen how the former India captain handles the disqualified old guard like Srinivasan and Niranjan Shah, whose children are now officially part of the BCCI.
With the CoA’s tenure coming to an end, Vinod Rai and his colleague, Diana Edulji, are the only two CoA members who will get the full remuneration. Historian Ramachandra Guha and banker Vikram Limaye, who were part of the BCCI’s CoA for limited periods, have declined to take the remuneration cleared by the Supreme Court.
As per the court’s direction, the BCCI shall bear all costs and expenses that may be undertaken by the CoA, including costs towards the present proceedings that may be initiated against them. The CoA members will be paid Rs 10 lakh per month for 11 months in 2017, Rs 11 lakh per month for 12 months in 2018, and Rs 12 lakh per month for 10 months in 2019. The CoA’s latest member, Lt Gen Ravi Thodge, will be paid for the number of months he has been on board.
The most controversial and biggest shield provided to the CoA and its members, along with other officers, is immunity from any possible actions that the BCCI may initiate against them for their decision during the running of cricket affairs. The SC bench has clearly said that its prior permission will be needed for any actions against them.
A Bench comprising Justices S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao also directed the CoA to submit their approved accounts with the registrar of the Tamil Nadu Society, with which the BCCI is registered.