Manohar set to take BCCI reins

Shashank Manohar is set to be back as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president.

By LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI in Calcutta
  • Published 27.09.15
  •  
File picture of Shashank Manohar

Calcutta, Sept. 26: Shashank Manohar is set to be back as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president.

Unanimously, in all probability.

Manohar's first innings ended in 2011. This time, he'll be taking the place of the late Jagmohan Dalmiya and would be in the chair till the 2017 AGM.

In the past, Manohar had often said that he would have nothing to do with the BCCI, at the end of his term as president, but reviewed his position to speak up against Narayanswami Srinivasan.

The Srinivasan factor is bringing him back.

Not known to say much, except when it's related to tackling corruption, Manohar told this reporter: "Right now, I have nothing to comment.... No reaction to give."

Perhaps, because the BCCI is known to spring surprises and Manohar isn't one to take anything for granted.

Manohar had been the BCCI president when Lalit Kumar Modi, the man behind the IPL, was banished from cricket administration.

Trust Manohar to be tough on issues which need firm handling. Indiscipline, for example. Corruption, obviously.

Modi cannot be hopeful, though even he's opposed to Srinivasan.

Manohar's return would be bad news for the IPL's rather controversial COO, Sundar Raman, too.

That Manohar could be back as the president was reported in this morning's edition of The Telegraph.

Manohar has the "complete" support of two of the three groups in the BCCI and, on the face of it, it would be futile for friend-turned-archfoe Srinivasan to attempt fielding a candidate against him.

Besides Sharad Pawar's group, Manohar has the backing of BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur and the rest of the votes controlled/influenced by the BJP, which is in power at the Centre.

Of the 29 affiliates eligible to vote at a Special General Meeting, three are directly controlled by the Union government.

Most important, the 57-year-old Manohar has the "blessings" of Arun Jaitley, inarguably among the three most influential men in the country.

Manohar comes with far less baggage than Pawar and, so, became much more acceptable.

Jaitley extended his support during a meeting at his New Delhi residence on Thursday. Present were Thakur (a BJP member of Parliament), former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke and Manohar.

Manohar, a lawyer, and industrialist Shirke had flown over from Pune.

According to Shirke, who'd resigned as the BCCI's treasurer 28 months ago, days after scandals struck the IPL, Manohar's path was cleared late last night.

That was around 11.30pm, when Pawar, almost surely realising that his group would split if he persisted with his ambition, agreed to throw his weight behind Manohar.

Manohar has, in any case, been an architect of the Pawar group. He wouldn't have contested against the head, though.

Shirke and Inderjit Singh Bindra, a former president of the BCCI, who is currently in Manila, played a key role in placing the "right facts" before Pawar.

They helped save the group's unity.

While Shirke met Pawar in person, in Mumbai yesterday, Bindra would have spent considerable time over the phone from The Philippines.

Instead of reaping dividends, Srinivasan made it worse for himself by flying to Nagpur, on Wednesday, for an audience with Pawar.

If not a full-fledged deal, an understanding was definitely reached between Pawar and Srinivasan, with the latter promising his group's backing for Pawar's shot at again becoming the BCCI president.

The visit boomeranged.

Besides Srinivasan, Rajeev Shukla is also a loser. He'd been hoping to get the BJP's backing, even though he's a Congressman.

Once Manohar becomes the president, it's most unlikely that Srinivasan would continue as the BCCI's nominee for the International Cricket Council's chairmanship.

Despite being barred from seeking a second term as the BCCI president, Srinivasan continued as its nominee as part of his deal with Dalmiya before the last AGM.

"We'll get to that later. Why speculate? Our priority was to find a replacement for Mr Dalmiya. We've found one... Like Mr Dalmiya, Shashank is a man of integrity. So, the leadership question has been addressed. Other things later," Shirke said, speaking exclusively.

The BCCI's constitution demands that Manohar be nominated by one affiliate from East, as it is this zone's turn for the chair.

That won't be an issue for Manohar.