Mumbai: Come Thursday-Friday and the ‘official’ attention will all be on the International
Cricket Council’s (ICC’s) Cricket Committee-Management meeting at the CCI. However, on the ‘unofficial’ front, the focus will be on Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Jagmohan Dalmiya’s presence in the city.
Dalmiya, of course, won’t be representing India (secretary S.K.Nair will do the needful) but his one-to-ones, on the sidelines, with ICC president Ehsan Mani and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief executive Rameez Raja could upstage whatever happens at the two-day meeting.
Both Mani and Rameez arrived late on Wednesday evening, via Dubai. While the ICC president had options, the overflight restrictions left Rameez with none. “Mumbai has grown...My flight from Dubai took a little over two hours and it required almost the same time to get here (CCI) from the airport,” he quipped.
Incidentally, this is Mani’s first trip to India after succeeding Malcolm Gray in June. He is the second Asian, after Dalmiya (1997-2000), to head the ICC. As for Rameez, a former captain, it’s his maiden visit after moving into the chief executive’s chair five months ago.
According to The Telegraph’s sources, Dalmiya will “press” for the immediate release of India’s World Cup-related guarantee money ($6.5 million), with interest, at his interaction with Mani. The ICC — actually, IDI Ltd, its business arm — has withheld that owing to the Player Terms disagreement.
Though Dalmiya has consistently been vocal about the guarantee money bit, this will be his first meeting with Mani after the BCCI formally decided (last month, in Chennai) to ask for that $ 6.5 million plus interest.
In much the same way, Dalmiya will be interacting with Rameez just days after the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government okayed contacts with Pakistan at the colts and A level. Rameez, in any case, has declared he will again call for the resumption of cricket at the Test and ODI levels.
“The Indo-Pak rivalry is the greatest in cricket — bigger even than the Ashes...Therefore, I don’t see why the world should be deprived of a Sachin Tendulkar versus Shoaib Akhtar contest' In fact, from India’s perspective, you now have a team which can probably beat us,” Rameez remarked.
While it’s not clear whether Dalmiya will arrive on Thursday morning itself and be present at the launch of a social awareness campaign by the United Nations (in partnership with the ICC and the BCCI), he will definitely be around from Friday. That night, after all, he is hosting the 15 delegates and special invitees.
Mani will leave on Sunday and, so, Dalmiya will also have the Saturday to continue his one-to-one with the ICC president.