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Shashank Manohar back at BCCI helm

Shashank Manohar took over as the new president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India as at a Special General Meeting (SGM) of the <g data-gr-id="71">noard</g> here on Sunday, and immediately spoke of clean-up, transparency, and restoring the board’s lost reputation.

The BCCI chief’s post was lying vacant since incumbent Jagmohan Dalmiya died in Kolkata on September 20, and the SGM was called to choose the new president. As per the BCCI constitution, an SGM to nominate a successor has to be convened within 15 days of the incumbent chief’s death.

Manohar, a lawyer by profession, earlier held the top post from 2008 to 2011. The 58-year-old was elected for a full two-year term as all the six East Zone cricket units unanimously proposed his candidature for the board president’s post.

It was East Zone’s turn this time around to pick the president, and all six associations of the zone proposed Manohar’s name. As he was the lone candidate in the fray, Manohar was elected for the second time. Among the six proposers of Manohar’s name was Dalmiya’s son <g data-gr-id="81">Avishek</g>, who was representing the National Cricket Club (NCC) in the SGM.

The others who too proposed Manohar to assume the board chief’s post were Sourav Ganguly from Bengal, Sourav Dasgupta from Tripura, Gautam Roy from Assam, Ashirbad Behera of Odisha, and Sanjay Singh of the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA).

“We have to work on a couple of issues regarding the board and bring back the reputation back as early as possible. I need two months’ time, in which I will look into all the aspects,” Manohar told reporters at a press conference after being elected the president.

“I will continue to work on the issues Dalmiya had started working on. I will look to do my duty as best as possible,” he added.

“The first thing would be as functions of the interest issue of the BCCI. The board will frame regulations with regard to <g data-gr-id="76">function</g> of interest of administrators and their staffs that would be done within a month’s time.” 

“The board would also appoint an imbursement, for an ethics officer, who would be independent of their post and who would look into the complaints as regard to the conflicts of the administrator, players and their staffs,” he added.

The newly elected president stressed that his second aim would be to wipe away and prevent corruption from the game.

“Secondly, the board would lay down the norms and would take measures to prevent and wipe away corruption in the game. For this, the board will make programmes to educate the players.” 

Manohar said: “Also with the help of secretary Thakur, who is a member of parliament, we would like to meet the government officials to see and work out if we can get any investigating agency, as we did not have investigative powers, our hands were tied.”

His third item on agenda in the upcoming months would be to keep a track of the state associations and appoint an independent auditor from the board who would look into their works.

“Thirdly, there is a huge debate that the state associations are being paid a huge amount of money and nobody knows what happens to the money, if it is spent on cricketing activities or something else,” he said.

“Now the accounts of all the associations are audited by their auditors. However, we will build a system by which the accounts of the associations will be audited by an independent auditor appointed by the board. The board will have the right to take action against the associations if the board finds the money given is not being used in proper was,” Manohar said.

The BCCI chief also said that the board will put up its rules and regulations along with details of its expenditure on its website in order to ensure transparency.

“There is another debate that arises... that the board is not transparent and everything is kept under the wrap. This problem could be sorted out by putting on the website of the board, the constitution of the board, all rules of board, all expenses made by the board above Rs 25 lakh, so that people are aware what and where BCCI is spending the money.”

“At the end of the year, we can put the balance sheet of the board on the website, so it is available to the entire public. There is no wrong done in the board,” he said.

Speaking on National Cricket Academy (NCA) and women’s cricket in India, he said, “We will make sure NCA works round the year and helps bring out good players and spinners.” 

Shashank Manohar: High on integrity, tough on principles
Shashank Manohar, who on Sunday took over as the 36th president of the BCCI, is known for his integrity and regains control of the country’s richest sporting body at a time when cricket’s image has been tarnished by the spot-fixing scandal and intense factionalism. The reticent 58-year-old Nagpur-based lawyer in the past <g data-gr-id="167">decade,</g> has been known as someone, who bears a tough, no- nonsense attitude and at the same time is accommodating towards the needs of the players.

A shrewd tactician and someone who knows implications of any policy decision like the back of his hand, Manohar has been a <g data-gr-id="155">trouble-shooter</g> since 2005, when he became the vice- president and ‘Man-Friday’ to Sharad Pawar, who became the president that year.

Once he was through in 2011 with his first presidential tenure, Manohar stepped away from the limelight, rarely voicing his opinion on cricketing matters until the spot- fixing scandal broke in 2013.
From then, Manohar and N Srinivasan became adversaries with the former sticking to the principles that need to be followed urging the Tamil Nadu strongman to relinquish his post. Srinivasan, on his part, kept claiming that it was a case of pure vendetta.

That he stuck to his principals was proved when he made it clear that he is not in favour of Pawar aligning with Srinivasan in the presidential battle following the demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya. In a Cricket Board riddled by scandals, factionalism, money-power and heavy politicking, the need of the hour was a man, whose image could restore the faith and credibility of the sporting body whose revenues runs into millions of dollars.

While mulling on a replacement for Dalmiya, the majority of the influential decision-makers in the BCCI including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley could come up with only one name that could be befitting to the stature of a body like the BCCI and that was Manohar.

Some of his ground-breaking decisions during his first tenure (2008-11) include suspension of erstwhile IPL commissioner Lalit Modi on allegations of financial irregularities, calling for fresh bids for new teams after allegations of rigging, and advising BCCI to encash the bank guarantee of Kochi Tuskers Kerala after they defaulted on <g data-gr-id="154">franchisee</g> fee.  It was in Manohar’s first presidential tenure that India regained ODI World Cup after 28 years and players were rewarded with a cash prize of Rs 2 crore each after it was decided that they would be given Rs 1 crore each.

When IPL spot-fixing scandal broke in 2013, it was Manohar, who was the original whistleblower as he demanded Srinivasan’s resignation urging him to take moral responsibility of his son-in-law’s actions.
Such has been his integrity that even Lalit Modi, who has been a constant thorn in the flesh for some of the BCCI bigwigs including Srinivasan with his <g data-gr-id="153">twitter-tirade</g>, could not find reasons to badmouth him on social networking sites.

A fiercely private man, some of the nuggets of information about him in all these years have reached legendary proportions — he still does not have a mobile phone, only way to get through to him are the two landline numbers of his office and residence, his personal e-mail communications are done through his wife Varsha Manohar’s e- mail account, his first passport was issued when he was 51 years old. His relationship with the fourth estate has been one of indifference rather than a love-hate one like his predecessor Dalmiya as he has always believed in airing his views to a chosen few on even fewer occasions. The only two aspects where he has been criticised are his silence when Srinivasan as the treasurer of BCCI was allowed to bid for an IPL team in 2007-08. 

The second was when the zonal rotation policy of the BCCI was done away with which Srinivasan tried to use albeit unsuccessfully to his own benefit. Manohar had later said that the amendment was done not for Srinivasan but for the then DDCA chief Arun Jaitley.

Before Umesh Yadav burst into the national scene, Vidarbha only had Prashant Vaidya, whose international career was a blink and miss one. Therefore, it was difficult for a Vidarbha administrator to gain foothold — especially for someone who was not power hungry.

However in 2004, the western bloc of BCCI was slowly going against Dalmiya as they thought that the CAB president was running the board in an autocratic manner — something Srinivasan would be accused of in later years. The Indian cricket fraternity warmed up to Manohar during the last days of 
October 2004.

Manohar urges Srini to withdraw perjury case against Thakur
BCCI President Shashank Manohar today requested N Srinivasan to consider withdrawing the PIL 
filed by him against Board Secretary Anurag Thakur on allegations of perjury.

It has been learnt that Manohar told Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) representative PS Raman to convey his message to Srinivasan. “The BCCI president told Raman that it is his request to Srinivasan that he withdraws the PIL regarding allegations of perjury against Anurag.
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