There is a distinct possibility that the entire top brass of the BCCI might be forced to step down by the Supreme Court after it comes out with its verdict on the board’s implementation of the Lodha Committee reforms on Monday.
In that case, the Court could search for someone with an impeccable pedigree in cricket as well as administrative acumen to stand in as ad-hoc leader of the BCCI while the Lodha panel’s recommendations are implemented. According to HT, one of the few who fits that bill is Sourav Ganguly.
Here’s our analysis of what the former India captain would have to offer if he were elected:
Ganguly lent stability to the team at a time when the match-fixing scandal threatened to engulf Indian cricket. Such was his image that a former bookie had once gone on record saying ‘no one had the guts to approach Dada’. His is a simple ‘my way or the highway’ approach, be it demanding Harbhajan Singh’s inclusion or making Rahul Dravid keep wickets in the 2003 World Cup.
‘Dada’ has carried forward that impression to administration as well. If it hadn’t been for Ganguly’s intervention, Anil Kumble couldn’t have been coach of India. The name is so big that Ganguly is bound to have foes. His initial days in administration weren’t trouble-free as well, having had to deal with an obstinate curator and some jealous officials within the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), not to mention a small ‘conflict of interest’ case when Atletico de Kolkata owners bought the Pune franchise in IPL.
There were moments when Ganguly seemed vulnerable but he has shown the keenness to work around the obstacles with a smile on his face. And then there were his masterstrokes --- hosting the first ever pink-ball match in India, poaching the India-Pakistan World T20 game from Dharamsala and getting Amitabh Bachchan to sing the national anthem before the game at Eden Gardens.
Nothing too apparent till now. When he started out as administrator, Ganguly seemed to have more ‘enemies’ within the CAB than in the BCCI, where he enjoys a better position. Within the CAB, people questioned Ganguly’s multitasking (commentary and anchoring a popular TV show) and whether he was giving enough attention to all the levels.
Ganguly continued doing his job, hiring VVS Laxman, TA Sekar and Muttiah Muralitharan to create a pool of cricketers. He was one of the first administrators in India who stressed that associations should generate funds on their own and, as a result, brought in many sponsors for the CAB and the cricket team. It quickly generated around Rs 6 crore for the CAB.
Planted stories and mounting criticism stemming from professional jealousy had made Ganguly do something earlier this year he had never done as India captain --- hit out against his own men.
At a hastily summoned press conference on January 8, Ganguly slammed his detractors for ‘planting’ stories against him, clearly indicating that there was a rift within the association. But then the World T20 happened. More importantly, there was no rain-induced curtailment and the Eden Gardens turf renovation finally looked to pay dividends.
If elected, it could be a chance for Ganguly to firmly establish himself in the annals of the BCCI as one of its best administrators till date. Whether it’s playing, coaching or being administrator, Sourav Ganguly doesn’t like finishing second best.
An extremely competitive man, Ganguly will be egged on by the fact that he has neither won a World Cup nor an IPL. So the motivation to do a better job as administrator will be peaking right now. He has had a bit of luck going for him too. No one saw him being catapulted to the position of CAB president just a year into his stint as joint-secretary. But the death of Jagmohan Dalmiya and the overwhelming support of the Bengal chief minister saw Ganguly assume that position sooner than even he would have expected. Ganguly seems destined for a similar role in the BCCI in the face of the board’s biggest crisis ever.
Very few. If the Supreme Court gives him a free reign, no one can stand up to Ganguly’s judgment and decisions. And the way he has bossed around --- making Kumble the India coach and doing away with the home and away system in Ranji Trophy --- there is little to suggest that he would face any opposition within the BCCI.
His decisions might seem brusque at times but few would disagree that they are for the best of Indian cricket. However, at the state level, Ganguly will have to be aware of the different power struggles if he is given the job of remodelling the BCCI.