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Newly elected president, Roger Binny attends the board's Annual General Meeting in Mumbai on Tuesday. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Continuing the trend of appointing former Indian players to head the cricket board, World Cup-winning all-rounder Roger Binny has been entrusted with the task of leading Indian cricket, which will soon enter a transition phase.

Binny, the highest wicket-taker with 18 wickets in the 1983 World Cup, has played several roles in his playing days and later as a selector and an administrator (He’s the president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association since 2019). The former Karnataka star starts a three-year term, which will see the exit of stalwarts like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.

At 67, Binny, who is only the third Indian cricketer to become the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) president after Maharaja of Vizianagram and Sourav Ganguly, has set out his priorities saying his primary focus will be to reduce injuries to players.

Injury and recovery

“We will look to improve on what we can do to reduce the injuries to players,” Binny told the media. “Players getting frequently injured is a concern, and we wish to get to the bottom of it all and see how it can be changed for the better. Bumrah got injured just before the World Cup, which affected the whole plan.

“We have excellent doctors and trainers at the National Cricket Academy [in Bengaluru], but we must look to reduce the injuries and improve recovery,” he said, adding that he will also focus on the pitches in India.

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Roger Binny flanked by Jay Shah and Rajeev Shukla, Vice-President of BCCI. Image Credit: AP

Mohammed Azharuddin, who is also heading the Hyderabad Cricket Association, was one of the first to wish his teammate. “He (Roger Binny) is a nice man. I have played a lot of cricket with him, and we have fond memories. No discussions took place on the ICC chairman post today; the board will decide later,” Azharuddin was quoted as saying by news agency ANI on Tuesday.

Ganguly's sudden exit

Binny has been associated with cricket from his days in the state junior ranks to playing for India in 27 Tests and 72 One Day Internationals from 1979 to 1987. Stuart Binny, his son, played for India in six Tests, 12 ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals.

Binny’s elevation as BCCI president came as a surprise since Secretary Jay Shah got an extension after Supreme Court amended the cooling-off period clause. It also throws the spotlight on Ganguly’s sudden exit from the BCCI, ending speculation that he was headed to the International Cricket Council. Ganguly is now tipped to reclaim his position as Cricket Association of Bengal President when the polls are held on October 31.

“I was the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal for five years. I have been president of BCCI for years. After all these terms, you have to leave. As an administrator, you have to contribute a lot and make things better for the team. As a player who was around for a long time, I understood it. I enjoyed my time as an administrator thoroughly. You cannot play forever, and you cannot remain in administration forever,” said Ganguly at an event last week.

Ganguly-Kohli spat

One big blot on the former Indian skipper’s tenure as the president is his rift with Kohli after the star batter was sacked as ODI captain. When Kohli clarified the lack of communication, contradicting Ganguly’s version, it didn’t go well with the Indian cricket fans, eroding Ganguly’s popularity.

“I wish Roger Binny all the best. The new group will take this forward. BCCI is in great hands. Indian cricket is strong, so I wish them all the luck,” Ganguly said. Surely Binny not only requires luck but also a vision to add more ICC titles to India’s cabinet, as the next 50-over World Cup will be held at home in 2023.