Will Dalmiya work for betterment of the game?

BCCI, BCCI president, N Srinivasan, Supreme Court, Jagmohan Dalmiya, Sharad Pawar, Cricket Association of Bengal, CAB, IPL, Anurag Thakur, Rajiv Shukla, Indian Premier League, ICC

The governing body of Indian cricket is one of the most powerful sporting organizations across the globe. The temptation to head its functioning had led to many controversies in the past and will continue to do so in the near future as well. The whole world knows about the working culture inherited by last BCCI president N Srinivasan and the ways he adopted to stamp his authority over the governing body and its officials. He was kicked out by Supreme Court of India and was ordered not to stand for the new elections. The person under the scanner had no way out and was compelled to bid adieu. Veteran cricket administrator Jagmohan Dalmiya was unanimously elected President of the BCCI. The road for Dalmiya was cleared after Sharad Pawar failed to get a proposer from east zone (it was east zone turn to appoint the head), prompting the Maratha strongman to pull out of the race. The 74-year-old Dalmiya, President of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), was unanimously accepted by all the units loyal to Srinivasan to return to a position he held more than a decade back. The former ICC President had held the top post in BCCI between 2001 and 2004. Dalmiya’s elevation to the position was necessitated after Srinivasan was forced to stay away from the election owing to a Supreme Court directive, which reduced his role to merely voting. In fact, the AGM itself was delayed several times due to the legal battle that Srinivasan is fighting in the top court. The apex court is currently hearing the IPL spot-fixing scandal in which conflict of interest with regards to Srinivasan’s position as BCCI President and IPL team owner came in for sharp criticism from court. The N Srinivasan camp suffered a huge setback with their rival faction’s Anurag Thakur beating Sanjay Patel for the post of Secretary at the board’s Annual General Meeting in Chennai. BJP leader Thakur, it is learnt, won by just one vote over Srinivasan loyalist Patel, a scenario unlikely to have emerged had there not been cross-voting during the election process.

However, the fact that other anti-Srinivasan camp candidates lost the elections proved that cross-voting took place only for Thakur. Jharkhand Cricket Association’s Amitabh Choudhary was elected the Joint Secretary beating Goa’s Chetan Desai, belonging to the anti-Srinivasan faction, while Haryana’s Anirudh Choudhary won the treasurer’s position by defeating Rajiv Shukla. While three Vice-Presidents were elected unopposed, the two other positions also went to the Srinivasan faction with TC Mathews (Kerala, west zone) and CK Khanna (Delhi, central zone) winning the polls. Khanna defeated the influential Jyotiraditya Scindia, while Mathews edged past Ravi Sawant. The three, who were elected unopposed, are Andhra’s Gokaraju Gangaraju (south zone), Assam’s Goutam Roy (east), with ML Nehru of Jammu and Kashmir, representing the north zone. The arrival of Dalmiya won’t be a rosy affair as cricket is currently facing tough questions. The officials of the BCCI are more interested in making money and curbing the wings of other boards rather than looking after the game and the cricketers. Over the last few years, Dalmiya was trying his best to comeback to BCCI but everything went in vain. Since being defeated by Sharad Pawar in 2005, this veteran administrator was living a dull life but after being exonerated in 2010 from the embezzlement case, his rivalry with the Indian board was over. Dalmiya even served briefly as an interim BCCI boss in 2013, but his life came full circle with his re-election to the chair. A makeover of the Indian cricket is the need of the hour and Dalmiya has everything in him to turn the fading reputation into a positive one. India is an undisputed ruler of the world cricket and it’s high time that BCCI acts with maturity without behaving like a rowdy ruler. The businessman from Bengal has a vision for the game and he clearly showed this when he helped ICC to recover from almost a bankrupt situation in 1998. He was the president of the international body from 1997- 2000 and the Champions Trophy, which helped ICC in earning lots of cash, was his idea. Despite all this, Dalmiya will have to work hard on certain key areas to lead cricket’s revival.

Wash out IPL dirt

There is no doubt that Indian Premier League is the best T20 event across the globe. It has been marred by controversies since its inception but hardly any corrective measure was called upon. From night parties to conflict of interest, match fixing to betting, there is hardly anything left in terms of bad taste. The sponsors have left while few have threatened to cut their ties because of unwanted activities but BCCI being bossy, has not responded to such calls. The arrogance could prove damaging in the long run and the appointment of Jagmohan Dalmiya could bring out some result in this regard. He will have to sit with all the concerned parties involved in the Indian Premier League and take out a solution.

Revamp domestic cricket

The wickets in India are batting or spin friendly and there is hardly any scope for outright fast bowlers. The consequences have been devastating for Team India outside the sub-continent. The players from this nation have struggled in England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in the last few decades and we won’t see any change until right measures are adopted. Jagmohan Dalmiya is aware about the issue and if he decides to take on this, the years of embarrassment will end. Apart from this, the top Indian players should be asked to play domestic cricket if there is no international commitment. Their presence will help the budding cricketers in learning good skills. The empty stadiums is another issue which is affecting the basic principal of the game. I have covered many domestic matches and have found fans less stands everywhere. There should be a measure or policy where in crowd participation is given priority.

Improvement in the future tours programme (FTP)

The current future tours programme is governed by commercial policies rather than the real interest of the game. India, Australia and England are heading the ICC and all the future tours are made after their approval. This is disturbing the growth of the game as weaker units are given less importance. India has got the biggest share in the administrative activities and with new president in place, it should look forward towards global expansion and improvement in the overall structure. It won’t be easy for Dalmiya but each and every task requires few sacrifices and he should start investing his time in this field too.

Need for transparency

Cricketing activities have been kept under dark when it comes to India and there is no information available about the funds, facilities and other key points. The BCCI has been accused by the Indian government on many occasions about the lack of transparency. This is the right time to set the records straight by agreeing to join the ambit of RTI. BCCI is a public body as observed by the honorable Supreme Court so definitely it is accountable to make their day to day activity more transparent to the people.