Anurag Thakur: Politics in blood, administrator by nature

  • PTI
  • Updated: May 22, 2016 13:28 IST
Anurag Thakur takes over as the youngest president of the BCCI at a time when the board is facing turbulence. (HT File Photo)

The youngest BCCI president in independent India, Anurag Thakur has taken over the reins of the world’s richest cricketing body at a time it is fighting an existential battle against a complete restructuring recommended by the Supreme Court.

It will certainly not be a ‘Bed of Roses’ for the three-time Lok Sabha MP from Himachal Pradesh’s Hamirpur district as he is expected to be in office till September, 2017 and turbulent times lie ahead for him in foreseeable future.

In case the Lodha Committee recommendations are implemented, Thakur will have to wait for three-years as a mandatory cooling off period.

This makes it a really intriguing coming few months with Thakur in the Hot Seat as he will have to engineer a rapid transformation in BCCI’s working process post Supreme Court verdict.

But Thakur, son of two-time former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, is a career-politician and will bring in his distinct operational style not exactly similar to his immediate predecessors N Srinivasan and Shashank Manohar.

Not to forget a he is combative character, who loves a good scrap and was one of the rarest BCCI officials (apart from then treasurer Ajay Shirke), who had gone on record, asking the erstwhile president N Srinivasan to step down from his post after the match-fixing scandal broke out.

The supremo of Himachal Pradesh CA is someone who believes in keeping cards close to his chest and taking his own time before arriving at a decision.

A case in point may be the wait for India’s next chief coach after Ravi Shastri’s contract expired at the end of the World T20. Thakur has not yet divulged who will be Shastri’s successor.

But he has his own set of accomplishments too. A stadium at Dharamsala on the lap of the scenic Dhauladhar Range is inarguably the most beautiful venue in India.

Apart from Dharamsala, Himachal also boasts of modern cricket infrastructure at Bilaspur, Una, Amtar, Pragati Nagar and Laal Pani. Bilaspur and Una has also hosted senior level BCCI matches.

Being one of the younger officials in the BCCI top brass, he shares a good rapport with the national team’s past and present cricketers. In fact, many feel that he is a players’ man as he ensured as a secretary that door is not shut on any senior players who are performing.

The likes of Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, all made comebacks into national fold after he took over as the secretary and became the convener of the senior selection committee.

Seniors like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly call him by his first name and is someone who has been accessible to his state team players when he became the president of HPCA at the age of 25.

Making Rahul Dravid the coach of India U-19 and ‘A’ team apart from introducing the clause of BCCI officials signing the ‘No Conflict of Interest’ clause were some of his steps that have been appreciated.

He has recently introduced a private member bill in the Lower House which proposes 10 years of jail term for any sportsperson, who indulges in match-fixing.

While a lower court in Delhi had recently dismissed the MCOCA charges against tainted alleged fixer S Sreesanth, Thakur maintained that the Kerala speedster’s life ban will not be revoked.

As a joint secretary, he was the convenor of the selection committee of the victorious 2012 U-19 World Cup captained by Unmukt Chand. In fact, when Ankit Bawne, who was named captain initially, was found to be over-aged, Thakur had taken initiative to ensure that a new captain (Chand) is named.

An ambitious man, Thakur has been a go-getter as he once played a Ranji Trophy match for HP against Jammu and Kashmir which was necessary for being eligible to become a junior national selector.

While he failed to score a run, he did get two wickets with his off-breaks dismissing Dhruv Mahajan and Guru Pratap Singh.

Unlike some administrators, Thakur was an active junior level cricketer having led Punjab U-16 to a Vijay Merchant Trophy triumph. In his tenure as Secretary, the BCCI successfully organised the ICC World T20 2016 in India.

As a politician, he is seen as a young face of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party. He is the only leader to be re-appointed for a third term as the National President of BJYM, the youth wing of the BJP.

Within Parliament, he serves as Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT and Member of Public Accounts Committee. He is also the member of Steering Committee of the Parliamentary Forum of WTO.

He has been a recipient of the Best Young Parliamentarian Award in 2011 and recognised as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum.

In a nationwide survey in the run-up to the 2014 General elections he was rated among India’s Top-10 MPs based on his Parliamentary performance and commitment to society at large.

He is married to Shefali Thakur and has two sons named Jaiaditya and Udayveer, aged 12 and 6, respectively.

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