The man of crisis
Appointed as the president, the swashbuckling southpaw is only the second national captain to be elected the head of BCCI for a full term after Maharajkumar of Vizianagram in 1954
Once again, Indian cricket has turned towards the service of Sourav Ganguly to pull them out of troubled waters – a similar scenario when he was bestowed with the honour of captaining the national team nearly a couple of decades back. He took over the reins at a difficult time from Mohammed Azharuddin when Indian cricket was engulfed in a match-fixing saga. It was probably the darkest time in the long history of the sport in the country.
Afflicted by the fixing scandal in 2000, the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) sought the services of Ganguly not just to win matches but also to restore the broken faith of Indian fans towards the sport. And in five years of captaincy, he opted for various youngsters in Sehwag, Yuvraj, Harbhajan and many more who turned out to the superstars of Indian cricket in the years to come. He clinically achieved what was expected from him or maybe even more.
The Indian cricket board has had a tumultuous time in the last few years ever since the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) took charge after the 2013 spot-fixing scandal. Apart from the corruption charges, recent years have also seen irregularities in the functioning of BCCI and eventually lead to the formation of the CoA comprising of Vinod Rai, Vikram Limaye, Diana Edulji and Ramachandra Guha with the prime objective of implementing the Lodha reforms. The committee did manage to implement a few reforms, but many of those are yet to be adopted by the central board as well as its state associations and irregularity in the functioning of the top cricket body continues to persist.
In such a chaotic scenario, someone was required to nullify all the challenges and bring the house in order. Ganguly was unanimously appointed the top boss of Indian cricket to clean the mess and acknowledged it happily, though he stated that he was not eying the position. Taking care of first-class cricketers and setting the house in order is among the top of the list for Sourav Ganguly, the former India captain said on the day he filed his nomination for the post of BCCI President. Ganguly is unopposed for the post after dislodging Brijesh Patel from the running but the 47-year-old said that he had never expressed an aspiration for the post.
Ganguly has been serving as the President of the Cricket Association of Bengal for the last six years and he believes that administrative experience counted in his quick accession in the race. He changed the face of the iconic Eden Gardens with improved infrastructure alongside new resources and there stands no doubt in his ability as an administrator.
Being elected the President of BCCI is the next big step for the southpaw after drawing curtains to an illustrative career of 16 years in 2008. Talking about his objectives and challenges, he has been vocal about his top-most priorities in the initial phase – to dissolve the internal conflicts within the board alongside improving the lives of cricketers in the domestic first-class circuit.
"Even when I became the captain in 2000 there were issues that had rocked the cricketing fraternity. So it's always great to be seen as someone who can do things when situations are demanding and hopefully I can deliver this time around too," Ganguly said on drawing comparative lines with his role as the Indian captain and as BCCI President.
Once elected the captain, Dada changed the approach of the Indian national cricket team. He rather opted for an aggressive approach in contrast to his predecessors and has played a vital role in bringing the Indian team where it now sits as the most dominating force in the sport. Working against odds is nothing new for the Prince of Kolkata, and he is undoubtedly the go-to man at a juncture when the BCCI desperately needs a makeover.
Ganguly's appointment as the top boss has not only drawn praise in the country, but also from the other side of the border. The Rawalpindi Express, Shoaib Akhtar, was in all praise of the former Indian captain. The Pakistani legend had played under Ganguly for Kolkata Knight Riders. He believes that not only Ganguly has a great sense of cricketing knowledge, but he has also been able to change the approach of other players and also has an eye for scouting talent – a quality, not all great players possess.
But, this is a new era of world cricket. Can the administrator in Sourav still make a difference in Indian cricket? Yes, he can and probably, with an elevated benchmark.