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This man never fails to surprise

Silently and unfailingly, Jagmohan Dalmiya has scripted a return that would rank among the greatest comeback stories in Indian cricket.

cricket Updated: Sep 30, 2010 00:14 IST
A Mukhopadhyay

Silently and unfailingly, Jagmohan Dalmiya has scripted a return that would rank among the greatest comeback stories in Indian cricket. There are people who have done it more gloriously but the hurdles this septuagenarian had to overcome were tougher than those faced by Sourav Ganguly or Mohinder Amarnath.

It took him five years to turn the clock back, after his candidate Ranbir Mahendra lost to Sharad Pawar in the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) presidential elections in 2005. This led to Dalmiya’s expulsion from the board, which also charged him with misappropriation of funds and launched criminal proceedings. The BCCI’s special general body voted 29-2 in favour of his suspension and it seemed Dalmiya was history. But this is the BCCI where enemies of enemies can become friends and where key men are handful.

Shashank Manohar and N. Srinivasan, the BCCI president and his successor in waiting, led Pawar’s team against Dalmiya with Lalit Modi and I.S. Bindra. But the unity seen then didn’t last. With Manohar set to ‘retire’ after his term ends next year and Modi and Bindra out of the equation, Srinivasan wouldn’t want the impediments Dalmiya can create.

“You need whole timers for the BCCI to function,” said a former BCCI office bearer close to Dalmiya. “Arun Jaitley is too busy and with Manohar set to go next year, Srinivasan knows he can’t operate smoothly if Dalmiya opposes him. This, despite Dalmiya posing no threat to his aspirations to become the BCCI president.”

Even Modi was trying to get close to Dalmiya after anticipating trouble and there was a chance that they would team up. But with Modi facing what Dalmiya had five years ago, it didn’t take long for the veteran to choose which side to align with. “My stand has been vindicated,” Dalmiya told HT. Few would know who is right or wrong in this game of choosing the right men at the right moment, but anyone seeking lessons in saying never say never can dial D for Dalmiya.