After donning various ts in cricket administration, Anurag Thakur was unanimously elected president of the BCCI at a special general meeting on Sunday to succeed Shashank Manohar, who quit this month to become chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The road ahead for Thakur is tough with the pending implementation of the Lodha committee report. “Where there is a challenge, there is an opportunity. It depends on one’s perspective. I see an opportunity that this is the time to deliver,” said Thakur when asked if he was prepared for the turbulence.
“We are not running away from the Lodha recommendations but we are in favour of using recommendations which are practical. We have already done reforms much before the Lodha panel recommendations. Nobody is perfect. Wherever there are issues, we’d try and rectify that. As custodian of the country’s most popular sport, we’re aware of our responsibilities and we’ll fulfill our duties,” he said.
Manohar had said on Saturday that he agreed with 75 per cent of the Lodha panel’s recommendations but felt some would take the BCCI backward.
Thakur supported his predecessor. “I am grateful to Mr Manohar for expressing his views. He is a seasoned administrator and has expressed how 100 per cent implementation of the recommendations won’t be feasible. The world knows how effectively run our Board is. We have tried to mend our ways. There are always areas to improve,” he said.
“If you look at a Twitter report, the fastest growing league in the world is the IPL. If you look at the other side of it, the major revenue comes from home series and advertisement. The state associations create infrastructure. In India, infrastructure in other sports is created by government. Only in cricket it is created by the BCCI. If you look at the pension to ex-cricketers, where is that money coming from? It is coming from this,” said Thakur when asked about the Lodha panel recommendations on cutting down advertisements.
On the coach of the India team, Thakur said the selection process had begun and an announcement would be made before the tour of West Indies. “We will advertise for the post and anyone can apply by June 10. The short-listing will be done after that,” said Thakur, 41. The only younger president was Fatehsingh Rao Gaekwad, who took over when he was 33 (1963-66).
Making India the top team in all formats is a priority for Thakur. “Currently, our team is No 2 in Tests and T20 and No 4 in ODIs and women’s cricket. We will take every step to make India No 1 in all four.”