Setting right the image of the Indian cricket Board and looking after the financial health of first class cricketers are immediate priorities of President-elect Sourav Ganguly, who is set to take over the reins of the BCCI at a crucial time.
In Ganguly, the BCCI will have its first President since Anurag Thakur was forced out in January 2017 following the appointment of the Committee of Administrator (CoA), which run the show for 33 months.
The former India captain would be at helm for a mere nine months but he said it’s a great opportunity to do “something good”. He is the only candidate to have filed nomination for the post of President.
“It’s a great feeling (getting top post) as I have played for the country and captained the country. And I am taking over at a time when BCCI has not been in greatest of position for the last three years. Its image has got hampered (tarnished) quite a lot,” Ganguly told PTI during an interaction.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to do something good,” said the former India captain, who will have to demit office in July, due to compulsory cooling off period.
“In the next few months, we can put everything in place and bring back normalcy in Indian cricket again. My colleagues — the eight people — who are members of the Apex Council, we will all work together to regain the old glory of BCCI, said the veteran 113 Tests and 311 ODIs.
The 47-year-old plans to meet all the stakeholders in Indian cricket and wants to do something that Committee of Administrators (CoA) didn’t do for about three years.
“We will speak to everyone first as we take a decision but my biggest priority will be to look after first class cricketers. I had requested that to the CoA but they didn’t listen. That’s the first thing I will do, look after the financial health of our first-class cricketers,” said Ganguly, who scored more than 18,000 international runs.
“Their remuneration needs to be increased manifold,” he added.
“Being selected unopposed is a big responsibility,” Ganguly admitted.
“Whether unopposed or not, there has to be responsibility as it is the biggest organisation in world cricket. Financially, India is a cricketing powerhouse, so it will be a challenge,” he said.
Ganguly said that he respected the call of the members but never ‘aspired’ the post.
Does he regret that the term will be only for nine months?
“That’s the rule and we will deal with it.”
For someone, who has won many close ODIs for India, Ganguly was emotionally intrigued when he got first hand experience of board room politics.
“I didn’t know I would be the President when I came down. You (reporter) asked me and I told you it’s Brijesh and when I went up and I came to know it has changed. I have never been in a BCCI election and I never knew it worked like this,” he said.
Ganguly said that after the new constitution came into effect, it was difficult for many to gauge the scope and role in various situations.
“A lot of people are tentative to decide even on positions, because if it is not good enough and you cannot make a lot of difference, then you don’t want to be a part of it. And then you also end up losing your position in state association,” he said.
He reportedly met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday and when asked if he will have to campaign for the BJP in West Bengal, he replied in a negative.
“No, no nothing of that sort. Nobody told me anything. No politician was in touch with me and that’s what it is,” Ganguly denied any political interference.
When told that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has wished him luck, he smiled and replied, “I would like to thank Mamata didi for her good wishes.”
Jagmohan Dalmiya had pulled off some amazing board room coups during his tenure. Talking about the late BCCI boss, Ganguly got emotional.
“I never imagined (that I will be in shoes of late Jagmohan Dalmiya). He was like a father to me. There has been some great presidents of BCCI, Mr Srinivasan, Anurag, who have done great job,” he said.
So will it be different from captaincy?
“Nothing can beat being an India captain. In 2000, when I was made the captain, there were issues (match fixing controversy) in Indian cricket. I was looked at someone who could do the job,” he said, oozing confidence.
“In this case, it’s not about whether you are player or not, it’s about the ability.”