Dubai: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, whose concerns in a letter to the Indian cricket board on Tuesday have stirred up a hornet’s nest, has now upped the ante to realise his ultimate goal: to be the board president.
The Supreme Court verdict in early August, which cleared the decks for elections in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) once the new constitution is in place, should see the much-awaited Annual General Meeting (AGM) taking place sometime in November.
The last two years had seen the BCCI administration running in proxy with the Committee of Administrators (CoA), appointed by the apex court and headed by former top bureaucrat Vinod Rai, taking the major decisions as per the recommendations of Justice R.M. Lodha.
"I don’t know how far it’s true, but the recent reports of harassment has really made the BCCI look poor, more so the way it has been handled."
— Sourav Ganguly
All that may well be ending in a month’s time, with Rai committing that the CoA’s duty would end once the elected body takes over.
It is against this backdrop that Ganguly’s salvo at the manner the CoA is running the game and its handling of the sexual abuse allegations against cricket board CEO Rahul Johri, leaked to the national media, assumes major significance.
“I write this mail to you all with the deep sense of fear as to where Indian cricket administration is going. Having played the game for a long period of time, where our lives were ruled by winning and losing, and the image of Indian cricket was of paramount importance to us, we wake up looking at how our cricket is faring even now,” wrote Ganguly, now the president of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).
“Indian cricket with its massive following has been built over the years of hard work from superb administrators and greatest of cricketers who have managed to bring thousands of fans to the ground. I at the present moment, think it’s in danger. Hope people are listening,” the mail further read.
Without taking Johri’s name, who had been the face of BCCI over the last two years and represented the country in the ICC meetings, Ganguly raised the topic of the recent allegations of sexual harassment against the BCCI CEO, saying that while the reports in itself are worrying, the manner in which it has been handled by the CoA has left a lot to be desired.
“I don’t know how far it’s true, but the recent reports of harassment has really made the BCCI look poor, more so the way it has been handled. The committee of COA from four has come down to two and now the two seems to be divided,” he wrote.
According to sources close to ‘Dada’, as Ganguly is most popularly known, the former captain is keen this time to assume the hot seat — even though the Lodha Committee recommendations would allow him a maximum period of two years before the ‘cooling off’ period after six years is applied.
Ganguly has been serving the CAB in an administrative role for four years now — three as president and one as assistant secretary — apart from being a part of the BCCI technical committee, cricket advisory committee, IPL Governing Council and the Lodha Commission.
While Ganguly’s letter has had the desired impact, a majority of the influential members of BCCI see in him a strong consensus candidate — much required to give it stability after it’s rudderless image for the last couple of years.
There could, however, be many a slip between the cup and the lip as he is loathe to the idea of contesting an election for the position.