Dubai: The Indian cricket board’s much-awaited Annual General Meeting on October 22 could be a high-profile one after quite a few years with Sourav Ganguly, the charismatic former Indian captain and currently President of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), likely to take on media baron Rajat Sharma for the President’s post.
There is always the proverbial slip between the lip and the cup in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selections, but informed sources say that ‘Dada,’ as Ganguly is popular called as, is not averse to being at the helm even for a limited period of nine months — following which his cooling-off period will get under way.
The Justice Lodha Committee recommendations stipulate that anyone who has held an office-bearer’s position in either the BCCI or any of the state associations for a cumulative period of six years has to go on a cooling-off period of three years.
Ganguly has held positions of first the joint secretary of CAB from July 2014 and then its supremo since Jagmohan Dalmiya’s death in 2015 and hence cannot continue in case of being elected after July next year.
The last time a former India captain has been the full-time president of the BCCI was Maharajkumar of Vizianagaram in the 1950s. However, Sunil Gavaskar had taken charge in an interim capacity in 2014 when the match-fixing scandal shook up the board’s administration.
Speaking to Gulf News over phone, Ganguly, however, said: “It’s still too premature to talk about it. I will be able to spell out my plans closer to the date.”
One of the topmost items on Ganguly’s agenda, if he throws his hat into the ring, will be the contentious issue of ‘Conflict of Interest,’ the terms of which were laid out on the Lodha Committee recommendations.
The three members of the erstwhile Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman and Ganguly had been pulled up for occupying different positions with IPL franchises or the BCCI — while the other member of the illustrious Fab Four — Rahul Dravid was questioned after taking over the director’s role in National Cricket Academy.
“The rule has to be practical. (Rahul) Dravid has been appointed as the NCA head and there are issues about conflict of interest with his job with India Cements. Three years later, you may not remain the NCA head but these jobs are permanent and remain with you. I don’t see it as a conflict of interest. You go around the world and look at Ricky Ponting,” said Ganguly.
Ponting, the former Australian skipper, had been on the coaching staff during the last ICC World Cup but takes up commentary assignments apart being the head coach of IPL franchise Delhi Capitals this season.
Only last week, the BCCI Ethics Officer, D.K. Jain observed that Ganguly cannot continue in more than one position for the BCCI elections. The former Indian skipper had held the position of a mentor for IPL franchise Delhi Capitals, but maintained that his contract has ceased to exist with the IPL 2019.
It’s quite clear that Ganguly prefers to adopt a wait-and-watch policy regarding his candidature as his potential rival Sharma, chairman and editor-in-chief of India TV, is close to the powers that-be in BJP, the ruling party. Sharma, anointed as the President of Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) last year, invited Union Home Minister Amit Shah — to honour Team India during the function to rename Feroz Shah Kotla as Arun Jaitley Stadium and name a stand there after Indian skipper Virat Kohli.
One cannot have the final say then, till the last ball is bowled!