The return of Shashank Manohar as Indian cricket board president ends a fortnight-long leadership tussle in the world game’s most influential body which followed the death of Jagmohan Dalmiya.
Mr Manohar’s election reflects the pulls and pressures within the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as well as the organisation’s anxiety to show that it is willing to shed its opacity. The Nagpur lawyer, known as a firm administrator, announced on Sunday that he would, in the next two months, make BCCI functioning transparent and root out the conflict of interest that became the central focus following the 2013 Indian Premier League spot-fixing scandal.
Mr Manohar has his task cut out as the BCCI will be racing against time to put in place reforms that the Justice RM Lodha panel — tasked by the Supreme Court to suggest ways to improve the board’s functioning — is due to pronounce by the year-end. Those recommendations will be binding, and it will be vital to show tangible improvement in the way the BCCI functions.
Appointing an ombudsman and putting the board’s balance sheet on its website will be steps in the right direction. The cricket board is arguably the only Indian federation with a proper structure. Almost every other major sports federation is tightly controlled by a handful of officials. However, this BCCI structure is undermined due to the control exerted by entrenched officials at the regional level.
The BCCI owes its standing to the commercial pull cricket enjoys in the country. But the riches have also made the administration complex, with vested interests adding to the problem. It was during Mr Manohar’s earlier term that the IPL kicked off, proving a magnet for the glitzy as well as the undesirable. The controversial decision to tweak the BCCI constitution to allow N Srinivasan to own a team also took place under his watch.
Mr Manohar will now have to shake up the system; how far he succeeds will shape the future of Indian cricket and will be watched with interest in the weeks to come.