Old warhorse returns for the last hurrah | india | Hindustan Times
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Old warhorse returns for the last hurrah

india Updated: Jun 03, 2013 02:16 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times
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If the going gets tough, trust the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to turn to one of its most battle-hardened administrators — Jagmohan Dalmiya. It was Dalmiya who had weathered the match-fixing storm in 2000 after Hansie Cronje's damning confessions, first as International Cricket Council (ICC) president and then as the BCCI boss.

Still, his return to the top position, albeit as a temporary arrangement in place of N Srinivasan, at the age of 73 is an interesting development.

Many see this as victory for the anti-Sharad Pawar camp, of which Dalmiya is regarded as a leading light. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/6/03_06_pg19a.jpg

In 2004, he helped Ranbir Mahendra succeed him by casting the president's vote against Pawar. The powerful politician outwitted Dalmiya next year and was expelled in 2006 over allegations of financial misappropriation. The return to the spotlight is thus seen as restoring cricket's Bengal strongman much of his lost pride.

Key figure
Dalmiya emerged a key figure in the last few days as Srinivasan battled to limit the damage caused by his son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan's arrest.

A shrewd businessman, Dalmiya changed cricket when he persuaded those at the helm to hold the 1987 and 1996 World Cups in the subcontinent.

“I wonder how with this intelligence, you could have ruled us for over 200 years,” was Dalmiya's snide remark at the English when pressed for a quote after getting the nod for the 1996 World Cup.

On the back of that success, he became the ICC president in 1997 and introduced many tournaments to fill the ICC's empty coffers, the most decorated one being the Champions Trophy.

A TV rights controversy in 2000 almost undid Dalmiya but he returned as BCCI president in 2001, pulling Indian cricket out of the mess it was in with the help of Sourav Ganguly's leadership on the field.

Tough nut
It's not just his administrative acumen, Dalmiya had the stomach to take the fight to the international forums, although at times he was criticised for brinkmanship.

He took on the ICC-appointed referee Mike Denness after he punished five India players, including Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, during the Port Elizabeth Test against South Africa in November 2000. He got the support of the South African board and forced Denness to be replaced for the next match, but the ICC hit back by stripping the match of its official Test status.

On completion of his term as BCCI chief, Dalmiya used his casting vote to get Ranbir Singh Mahendra elected as his successor in 2004, toppling Sharad Pawar, who till then had never lost an election. Pawar, however, turned the tables on Dalmiya the next year.

It marked the start of Dalmiya's slide as the BCCI accused him of misappropriating funds during his tenure in the PILCOM (Pakistan India Lanka Committee) for the 1996 World Cup, forcing him to step down as president of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) in 2006.