Mumbai, October 23
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly today took charge as the BCCI president, easily the most high-profile name to head the world’s richest cricket board that has been mired in administrative turmoil for the past three years.
The 47-year-old was officially entrusted with the task of heading Indian cricket for the next nine months at the BCCI’s General Body meeting here, ending a controversial 33-month reign of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA). Ganguly’s appointment as the BCCI’s 39th president was finalised last week. He succeeds CK Khanna, who was the interim head of the board since 2017.
“It’s an honour that I have been asked to take this role. It’s a new start for the BCCI,” said Ganguly, clad in his India team blazer. “I find myself in a position where I can make a change and it’s a challenge,” he added.
Ganguly will need to demit office by the end of July next year as per the provisions of the new constitution, which makes a ‘cooling off’ period mandatory after six years in office. During his tenure, Ganguly will look to coordinate with old guard such as former president N Srinivasan and ex-secretary Niranjan Shah, whose children are now part of the BCCI. Ganguly is expected to make use of his experience gained as the secretary and later president of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).
Will run BCCI the way I led India: Ganguly
Ganguly gave indications that he was unlikely to be influenced. “I will do it the way I know, I will do it the way which I feel is best for the BCCI with no compromise on credibility. Corruption-free and same-for-all BCCI. That’s the way I led India and that’s the way I will take this organisation forward,” said Ganguly, who was India skipper from 2000 to 2005.
Ganguly couldn’t help but recall the time he took over as team captain. The sport’s integrity was in tatters after the 2000 match-fixing scandal and Ganguly was handed the responsibility of resurrecting it. Resurrection is once again what is required after three years of administrative limbo, incidentally also caused by corruption — the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal. Ironically, Mohammed Azharuddin was at the centre of the 2000 scandal and will now be his board colleague as Hyderabad Cricket Association president. “It’s a similar sort of a situation where reforms need to be done,” Ganguly said.
Jay Shah (secretary): The 31-year-old is the youngest office-bearer in the BCCI. Jay, who is Home Minister Amit Shah’s son, has been with the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) since 2009. He was elected GCA joint-secretary in September 2013.
Arun Singh Dhumal (treasurer): His elder brother Anurag Thakur is currently a Minister of State (Finance and Corporate Affairs). Thakur was removed as BCCI president in January 2017. Dhumal, 44, served as vice-president of the Himachal Pradesh cricket body (HPCA) between 2012 and 2015 when Thakur was its president. Dhumal also led a three-member ad-hoc committee formed to run the HPCA in the wake of Lodha Committee recommendations.
Jayesh George (joint secretary): The 50-year-old has years of experience in cricket administration, having been part of the Kerala Cricket Association as its secretary, joint secretary, treasurer and most recently the president. He has been part of the KCA since 2005.
Mahim Verma (vice-president): His father PC Verma has served as secretary of the Cricket Association of Uttarakhand. Mahim, 45, was CAU’s joint-secretary for 10 years until September when he was elected the association’s secretary, soon after the body got the BCCI’s recognition
}It’s a very young group. We will have to do a lot of hard work to understand what’s been going on. There have been no AGMs, no working committees in the last three years, so we have no idea how it has been doneRs Sourav Ganguly
Main challenges ahead
India’s position in ICC
It is no secret that India has lost its voice in the ICC. In the latest working group of the global body, there are no BCCI representatives. In the ‘Big Three Model’ (England, Australia and India) devised by former BCCI president N Srinivasan’s right-hand man Sundar Raman, India was supposed to get $570 million from ICC’s revenue sharing model. However, once Shashank Manohar took over as ICC chairman, India lost the vote for ‘Big Three’ and had to settle for $293 million (for 2016-2023 cycle), which is $150 million more than England and Wales Cricket Board’s $143 million. Sourav Ganguly today spoke about getting $372 million from the ICC, mainly during the back-end of the 2016-2023 cycle when India hosts the 2021 World T20 and 2023 ODI World Cup. However if Srinivasan, who is the choice of board’s old guard, goes to the ICC as the BCCI representative, Manohar, who is all set to get a third and final term, might go on warpath and BCCI won’t have votes.
Ganguly will need all the support of BCCI’s legal and financial teams as the ICC wants India to give a tax waiver for all the TV production equipment imported for the broadcasters. Manohar has also threatened that the amount of tax burden which the ICC bears will be deducted from the BCCI’s annual revenue. Tax waiver is Central Government’s domain and there is little chance of the BCCI getting a tax waiver.
Currently, a first-class cricketer receives Rs 1.4 lakh per match at Rs 35,000 per day (excluding daily allowance which is different for different states). At the end of the season, the BCCI also distributes 13 percent of the annual gross revenue earned from TV rights. India players earn Rs 15 lakh per Test match (in playing XI), Rs 8 lakh per ODI and Rs 4 lakh per T20I.
Conflict of Interest Issue
This has restricted Ganguly’s options to get good quality cricketers for his Cricket Advisory Committee and the national selection panel. The last CoA Status Report has demanded some relaxation on the rule where those without long-term contracts (less than two years) should be allowed to don multiple hats. If the Supreme Court agrees, it will be easier for Ganguly to get quality ex-players on board.
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