Its official. Saurav Chandidas Ganguly is the new BCCI President as he adorned the chair on 23 October 2019. The most charismatic captain in Indian cricket history adds one more feather on his cap in an illustrious and roller coaster cricket career from being a cricket player to a captain to a respected commentator, a successful regional cricket administrator and now finally heads the BCCI . He is the 1st international cricketer and the 1st Indian captain to head BCCI. It is a script capable of producing a bestseller. Even his attaining of the post of BCCI president was not without its share of drama few days back when he got finally unanimously selected at almost around midnight.
Ganguly ,coming from a decent background and a rich family involved with printing business in Behala in South Kolkata. He started his cricket career in the age group in late 1980s ,made his Ranji debut in the in 1991 (Bengal won that season) . He first played for India in an ODI vs West Indies in 1992 in the tri series in Australia at Brisbane and scored 3 runs .He, then was out of contention for an Indian team spot for 3 years as dirty rumours did the rounds of his refusal to take out drinks ad a reserve player. Finally in 1996 he had his test debut against England at Lords scoring a superb 131 followed by another ton in next test. In subsequent years, he set about scoring runs in both formats and forging a legendary opening partnership with Sachin Tendulkar in ODIs winning many games for India. Also he took crucial wickets with his useful seam bowling in all formats. In the years 1999 to 2000 the match fixing issues broke out leading to a dark phase in Indian cricket. Tendulkar gave up Indian captaincy and Ganguly was selected as new Indian captain during these challenging times. He revived the credibility of cricket in India and led the team to a sensational test series win over invincible Australia in 2001 which changed Indian cricket and thus he launched a successful phase as a captain with creditable overseas wins, a World cup runners trophy in 2003 and a series win vs Pakistan in Pakistan in 2004. Then came his dark phase and his sensational fallout with new Indian coach, the high profile Greg Chappell and his loss of captaincy , batting form and team spot in 2005 . With his future international career in doubt ,he showed true fighting qualities in authoring a brilliant comeback script with runs in a tough South African tour on 2006 and a successful 2 years before his sudden retirement in 2008 October on a high in home Australia series when murmurs again started doing the rounds about his spot in the team in future. Began his next positive stint as a popular commentator, and later as an administrator, leading the CAB with gusto after Jagmohan Dalmia’s passing away , being asked to lead CAB by the state chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee .Saurav went on to make major improvements in various areas in Bengal cricket including improving the pitch and various other facilities at Eden Gardens. He also organised the 1st ever pink ball match in India at club level in 2016 . And finally it all culminates in getting the top cricket post in the country.
The only bone on contention is that Ganguly will be at the helm for only 10 months . As per the current BCCI rules as an individual after holding BCCI related posts for 6 years has to go into a 3 year cooling period. In case of Ganguly ,that 6 year period will get completed in September 2020 post which he will go into a 3 year cooling period. Hopefully there will be some efforts in revisiting this rule in coming months.
After formally adorning the BCCI President seat, Ganguly in his press conference have talked about overall upliftment of the game across the country, his support for Indian team captain Virat Kohli, supporing the cricketers, dissecting the conflict of interest issue, getting the 3 year accounts of BCCI presented and adopted and put BCCI back in its past glory after 3 years of crisis or doldrums that it has undergone. Hence it goes without saying that it’s a big challenge for Ganguly to set BCCI in the right direction and back on rails after it was going nowhere for past 3 years under the CoA. Thus another baptism by fire so to speak for Dada in similar lines of start of his Indian captaincy.
BCCI has been headed in the past by some successful administrators and the best of the lot was Jagmohan Dalmia, who came from the same state as Ganguly and enhanced BCCI’s stature in world cricket. That legacy now needs to be revived by Ganguly as BCCI is in total disarray for past 3 years. How much Dada will be able to achieve in 9 months time will now be the focus of attention. It’s a no less challenge than his Indian captaincy and his huge achievements as a cricketer scoring 7000 plus test runs and 11000 plus ODI runs with a decent collection of wickets in 400 plus internationals put together.
Below is the list of certain areas in our cricket where we feel that Ganguly can work on apart from many other areas of improvement surely on his mind.
- Better financial deal for first class cricketers (already touched upon by Ganguly)
- Better solution to the burning issue of conflict of interest.
- Embrace day and night test cricket but playing more pink ball tests now that India has got a lethal bowling attack.
- Make sure Indian team gets enough time to acclimatize before start of any high profile overseas test series by having 2 to 3 proper warm up matches arranged in the touring country before the test series.
- Directing pitches to be more sporting across all centres with good pace, bounce and carry so that Indian batsmen are not found wanting in overseas.
- Revive the zonal based Duleep trophy and Deodhar trophy with West, North, South ,East and Central zones instead of India red, blue and greens.
- Reserve days for domestic one day matches.
- Allow some of our T20 specialists and also players not much considered for India matches in most formats to play in other franchisee based competitions. However the players playing for India in all formats should be kept out of this.
Sourav Ganguly has always been a go getter in Indian cricket who has never been afraid to take challenges. He will do his best to get BCCI back on rails and make further enhancements. Being a cricket player himself , betterment of cricket and support for cricketers at all levels will be foremost in his mind. Surely he will use his past successful administrative experience as a CAB head to great effect.
So, here’s wishing Dada all the best as a BCCI head.
Also posting a wonderful image of Amul butter’s advertisement on Dada becoming BCCI head.