Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly on Friday made his debut in cricket administration - questioning several decisions of the Jagmohan Dalmiya regime during a nearly hour-long address at the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Kolkata.
Dalmiya, as expected, was elected uncontested for another term of the cash-rich body. He later said the CAB was planning to come out with a masterplan under Ganguly's guidance on making full use of the services of former players for the benefit of Bengal cricket.
"Ganguly raised pertinent questions regarding several issues. It was because of his presence that for the first time, the CAB AGM lasted two and a half hours. We had a very good meeting. There were discussions on a host of cricketing issues. This is good for Bengal cricket," said Union Minister of State for Tourism Sultan Ahmed.
Ganguly attended the AGM as a nominee of Mohammedan Sporting club, while the union minister booked his berth in the meeting from another outfit Ariadaha.
Ahmed disclosed that after Ganguly's speech, Dalmiya requested the cricketer to sit separately with him.
"Ganguly has brought in new thinking in the CAB. The Association should properly utilise his vast experience and cricketing knowledge which will benefit Bengal and young cricketers," Ahmed said.
Welcoming Ganguly in cricket administration, Dalmiya said his, "cricketing experience will help us. The way he came forward I will call him to work on Bengal cricket development together/."
He said the CAB would use Ganguly for coaching and related planning.
Ganguly questioned the rationale of the CAB not utilising the services of national selector Raja Venkat, a known Dalmiya baiter, and not inviting him for selection meetings. "There should be no politics over selection of selectors," a member present at the AGM quoted Ganguly as saying.
He also quizzed the ruling group on whether it had foregone a portion of the Indian Premier League money which could have been utilised for Bengal cricket and emphasised the need for a roadmap for developing the game in the state.
Ganguly also raised questions over the appointment of Roger Binny saying the CAB should have utilised the rich pool of talented former cricketers in the state.
"Why was David da (Utpal Chatterjee), who coached Bengal last year, sacked?" he asked.
"It has now been decided that the CAB will give a letter to Chatterjee thanking him for his services last year," Ahmed said.
But Ganguly refused to share his views at the AGM with the media apart from giving out some feel-good quotes. "It is a new role. It was a good experience," he said, after emerging from the meeting.
"I don't want to discuss that here. I have said whatever I had to say at the meeting," he said when asked about his views on the coach issue.
Dalmiya's detractors, who are pinning their hopes on Ganguly taking on the seasoned cricket administrator in the CAB polls next year, were clearly elated with the articulate cricketer's aggressive stance at the meeting.
"In the past, no one mustered up the courage to look Dalmiya in the eye at the AGMs and assert himself like this," said long time Dalmiya rival Samar Pal.