In a somewhat shocking development, former India captain and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has been asked not to continue in his role after his tenure comes to an end. 1983 World Cup winner Roger Binny likely is to take over the top job from Dada. As per numerous media reports, during a meeting between top BCCI officials earlier this month (October), Ganguly was told that his work as BCCI boss was far from satisfactory.
From what is being learnt, Ganguly was rather disappointed with the verdict on his tenure as BCCI president. He wanted to continue in the role but was told his services were unnecessary. Apparently, he was even offered the position of IPL Chairman but refused to take up the same after holding the topmost position in Indian cricket. Whatever the reason, the manner of Ganguly’s ouster is rather disappointing. Given that he has been one of India’s most successful captains and is a respected figure in world cricket, he deserved a more courteous farewell. What has transpired over the last few days does not paint the Indian administration very well.
Why the Supreme Court drama?
In the wake of Ganguly being asked to step down from his post after his tenure ends, one wonders why the cricket board approached the BCCI to modify their constitution, which would allow Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah to carry on. BCCI approached the top court in May 2020, seeking a tenure extension for its president and secretary, among many other amendments. Responding to BCCI’s plea, the Supreme Court last month accepted the request for a 12-year term of administrators before a cooling off-period kicks in. It basically meant that Ganguly and Shah could continue in their role for much longer.
When the SC development happened last month, it was a more or less clear indication that Ganguly and Shah would carry on in their respective roles. However, the fact that just a month later, Ganguly has been told that he will have to leave the post doesn’t sound quite right. If indeed the BCCI felt that the chief wasn’t doing a good job, why were there no reports regarding the same earlier? These details of him having not performed satisfactorily emerged out of the blue moon. And if the cricket board was convinced that Ganguly had not done a good job during his tenure and hence must leave, why did they waste SC’s time by approaching them for amendment changes? Clearly, the main purpose of their plea was to ensure an extension for Dada and Shah.
Politics at work?
The decision to ask Ganguly to step down as BCCI President has snowballed into a major political controversy. Some reports claim that the former Indian captain had to pay the price for refusing to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main party in power at the centre. Ganguly became BCCI President in 2019, and BJP were keen on bringing him into Bengal politics. However, Ganguly refused every offer to join politics, stating that he wanted to steer clear of it. Things remained the same even after Home Minister Amit Shah’s dinner at Ganguly’s Behala’s house. Trinamool Congress (TMC), the party in power in Bengal, also accused BJP of the same. The latter, however, hit back, asking TMC to look themselves in the mirror.
One can’t pinpoint this as a reason for the BCCI boss being asked to move aside since there is no proof of the same. However, what is pertinent here is that Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah is set to continue as the BCCI secretary. Arun Dhumal, Anurag Thakur’s brother, was not keen on continuing as treasurer. He is set to become the next IPL chairman. Rajeev Shukla is likely to be made the vice president. It is only Ganguly who seems to have lost out among all the shuffling in the BCCI house.
Did Ganguly fail as BCCI’s top boss?
While the manner of Ganguly’s removal is questionable, what also cannot be denied is that Dada’s tenure had too many controversies, which did not present the world’s richest cricketing body in good light. The Virat Kohli captaincy saga was definitely one that spiralled completely out of control. It almost seemed like it was a Ganguly vs Kohli tussle.
Of course, BCCI had every right to sack Kohli as captain, but the manner of his ouster was hugely embarrassing, and once Kohli opened up about the details, it painted the Indian cricket board in an extremely poor light. Right or wrong, the former Indian captain’s removal happened in an unprofessional manner. Worse, the damage control exercise was also a massive flop. BCCI chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma clarified that Kohli was informed of his removal as one-day captain well in advance. He basically meant to claim that Kohli had lied about not being told in advance.
It was not just about Kohli and Ganguly, though. The decision to go ahead with IPL 2021 at home despite the obvious threat of COVID-19 still backfired as a number of players and support staff tested positive. There were allegations of COVID protocols and safety measures not being followed. Eventually, the tournament had to be postponed midway and air-lifted to the UAE for completion.
The BCCI, under Ganguly, was also criticized for the delay in releasing payment to local cricketers after domestic tournaments were suspended in the wake of COVID-19. Unlike international stars, domestic players survive by featuring in tournaments like Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy, among others. Clearly, the reason couldn’t have been a shortage of funds. Lack of administration skills and empathy were undoubtedly visible here.
The BCCI also promised to do much about women’s cricket; even the IPL is set to start next year. However, despite repeated requests, something as basic as a mental-conditioning coach has not been made available to the national team.
All said and done, though, Ganguly’s tenure had its fair share of flaws. However, the dramatic manner of his removal is not done, considering his humungous contribution to Indian cricket, which is much more than all of the others on the board.