Jagmohan Dalmiya had held the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president's post in 2004 and few expected the veteran cricket administrator to return to the top position. But events triggered by the Supreme Court verdict on the IPL spot-fixing scandal saw his comeback in March.
Dalmiya isn't a morning person. That was why he looked most comfortable during a 9pm interview with HT at his office on Thursday. The former ICC president spoke on a range of issues, and without naming names, he let know who is boss of Indian cricket now.
How much has BCCI changed in the time you were not an active part of it?
There's always some change. But the one thing that bothered me was how people were not particular about keeping cricket clean. It led to a demand that I return.
It is there, but I don't know if it's being implemented well enough. If it's not, it needs to be.
How do you see Kohli as captain?
From my position as BCCI president, it's difficult to make a public comment. But it has to be discussed in detail. The selection and technical committees are there for that. I'm not brushing it aside but I'm not saying all is well either. Also, why talk about it? If something has to be done, I will do it. Simply talking about it could seem like a failure.
Kohli has often shown that emotions can get the better of him. Is it good for Indian cricket's image?
Well, it has to be examined and whatever corrective measures are needed will have to be taken. But at this point I feel this requires a little study.
Unlike when you were in charge before, reporters are now asked to leave team hotels, contentious questions are often barred at press conferences. How important is it to restore the faith between BCCI and the media?
I am a little surprised because I always believed in maintaining good relations. If this has happened, it's unfortunate. It never came to my notice but I don't approve of it. If I'm sitting in the chair, I may say these are the questions which I can't answer or won't answer but to belittle others is not done. As long as I am there, that will be our approach. We will revive the relationship.
Is the Bangladesh tour on?
It is very much on and it should be on. It will be painful if we snatch the ladder from Bangladesh who we brought to this stage (getting them Test status).
Given the Bangladesh tour is just after the IPL, who are the front-runners to be India coach?
That's a million dollar question. We might have to look at a short term arrangement before the Bangladesh tour, but ideally I would like to appoint a full-time coach before that.
Are you looking at former players like Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid or Anil Kumble to be involved with the team in different capacities?
Yes. But nothing's final. Some guidelines over appointing the coach will be formed at this working committee meeting (in Kolkata on Sunday).
How is the crisis with the West Indies board being dealt with?
Cricket already has to deal with so many issues. And if someone says we won't play midway through the tour, that's not done. If they can't pay the money, let them admit it. Let them say we have this problem and come up with a solution.
What do you think should be done to clean cricket's image in India?
I had given 16 points when I was interim president (in 2013), but nothing happened. If I take some action and then someone sits on it, I will have doubts about that person's intentions. Let the Justice Lodha committee report come. I can promise we will go all out after that. The idea is to spare no one.
There are already reports of a player being approached in this IPL.
I can't do anything by being worried about it. We are on it and we will not leave it halfway. But we are not magicians who can assure that it won't happen again.
The IPL COO (Sundar Raman) was heavily criticised by the Supreme Court for his inaction and yet he continues. Your thoughts?
We have the best of intentions. Things will definitely change, otherwise there is no point in taking corrective actions. But it's difficult to say what will happen.
The ICC chairman (N Srinivasan) has been asked to step aside from BCCI activity till the investigations are completed. Are you comfortable with it?
We are not shielding anyone, neither are we playing hide and seek. At the same time, we are not ruthlessly going ahead without taking stock of things. We are waiting. Let the report come.
Speaking of the ICC, is there any chance of seeing you there again?
(Smiles) Let us wait and see what happens.
In the light of the Ankit Keshri tragedy, do you think medical facilities need a relook?
It is always better to have precautionary measures on the field. But you can't do anything when a Philip Hughes-type accident happens. That was most unfortunate. This incident too needs to be investigated.
HT did an investigative report earlier this week which showed that in many cities, the prominent leagues lack basic medical facilities.
It's a concern. There should always be precaution. If something bad happens after that, we can't do anything. But we can't have a situation where we haven't tried. It needs to be looked into. Money isn't a problem. We shouldn't just give up.
It was the ICC that shifted the India-England World Cup match out of Eden Gardens in 2011...
I was hurt. I still am. I don't think that was fair.
Questions have been raised over your meetings with Sharad Pawar (who was ICC president when the Eden match was given to Bangalore) before the last AGM.
I might speak to a thousand people. If there is any personal problem with me, I will not let it affect me deeply. But if I'm not given a game, I will not forget it.