Dubai: The speculation over Sourav Ganguly, president of Indian cricket board, heading the world governing body of the game appeared to have gathered some steam over the past week with two former greats endorsing him as the right person for the role. The post of chairman of International Cricket Council (ICC) will fall vacant after June as Shashank Manohar, the current incumbent, is not willing to continue after his second term.
Graeme Smith, former South African skipper and currently Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) director of cricket, came out in support of Ganguly’s candidature - though the board hastily chose to temper their stand later. “We must respect both the ICC protocol and our own protocol in deciding which candidate to back. There have been no candidates nominated as yet and once such nominations have been made the Board of CSA will take its decision in terms of its own protocol and give the chairman the mandate to exercise his vote as an ICC Board Director accordingly,” CSA President and Chairman of the Board, Chris Nenzani said in an official release.
Speaking earlier in an interview, Smith said: “Now it is even more important to have someone in a role who can provide leadership who understands and can navigate the challenges in the game today. I think post-COVID with the things that are going to come our way, to have strong leadership is important. I feel that someone like Sourav Ganguly is best positioned for that at the moment.”
David Gower, former England captain and one of the most graceful left-handers to have ever graced the game, said about his fellow southpaw: ‘‘I think he (Ganguly) is a very, very good man and has those political skills. I think he has the right attitude and can keep things together and will do good job. And if you do a good job as BCCI chief in the future, who knows?
While insiders in the Ganguly camp deny any such plans at this point, Colin Graves of England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is tipped to take over as the next chairman - being assured of the support of seven of the eight nations among board members of the ICC to succeed Manohar. ‘‘Graves is very much acceptable among the board members. However, if the BCCI is keen to install someone of the stature of Ganguly, then it’s not impossible. He is already eligible after attending the board of directors’ meeting once and may prevail if he gets the backing of Manohar,’’ informed sources told Gulf News.
The former Indian skipper, known to play his cards right, is likely to adopt a wait-and-watch policy before making his ambitions clear. The BCCI’s appeal before the Supreme Court of India to relax the ‘cooling-off’ periods of Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah is yet to be heard and if there is no favourable judgement over the next two months, then Ganguly’s tenure as the Indian board chief will have to end on July 31. Shah, incidentally, has already gone for the mandatory cooling-off period from May 7.
As per the new BCCI constitution based on justice R.M. Lodha committee’s reforms, any person who has been an officebearer in a state as well as BCCI for a consecutive period of six years, will have to go for a compulsory cooling-off period of three years. The rule is applicable both for Ganguly, who has served his state body Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) first as a joint secretary and later president for five years and Shah, who has been the secretary of Gujarat Cricket Association for five-plus years.
The next two months, hence, will be crucial for ‘Dada’ to decide on the roadmap of his administrative career.