regular-article-logo Tuesday, 26 September 2023

Bouncer Sourav Ganguly couldn’t stave off

The former cricketer always believed he would get a second term as BCCI president, much like secretary Jay Shah

Indranil Majumdar Calcutta Published 13.10.22, 02:43 AM
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly leaves the Board headquarters in Mumbai on Tuesday.

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly leaves the Board headquarters in Mumbai on Tuesday. PTI

Sourav Ganguly never saw it coming.

He always believed he would get a second term as Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president, much like secretary Jay Shah.


So when it was made public that he would not file his nomination ahead of its annual general meeting in Mumbai on October 18, there was shock and disbelief.

The Board hadn’t provided him with the slightest hint. He was kept updated on the day-to-day affairs of the Board besides the impending AGM and the former captain was unaware of the backroom activity that culminated in the meeting at an influential Union minister’s residence in New Delhi last week.

The entire operation had been kept under wraps with secretary Shah even engaging the president in a meeting last month to discuss Team India’s jersey sponsorship issue — Byju’s allegedly owes Rs 86 crore as dues to the Board.

The only note of discord, as sources told The Telegraph, was when Shah seemed to shoulder more responsibility in certain matters for the last couple of months.

The first signs of a change were evident when the Karnataka State Cricket Association decided to name its president Roger Binny in the electoral rolls.

Though the Union minister, along with former Board president N. Srinivasan, played a key role in Binny’s nomination to the BCCI chair, none came to the fore when the announcements were made about the new dispensation.

N. Srinivasan (left) and Roger Binny

N. Srinivasan (left) and Roger Binny

It was left to a chief minister from a northeastern state, who is no longer associated with the Board, to individually call up the members and inform them of their positions.

Srinivasan may no longer hold a position in the BCCI, but is respected by the powersthat-be for his contribution to the game.

He did have issues with Anurag Thakur in the past when the current sports minister had assumed the secretary’s role in the Board in 2015 defeating Sanjay Patel, a Srinivasan loyalist, by a single vote. All that is a thing of the past as Srinivasan joined hands to get his man from the zone in the president’s chair.

In BCCI politics, it has always been a marriage of convenience. Back in 2019, Srinivasan had almost put Brijesh Patel in the chair when by a sudden quirk of fate Sourav turned the tables on him.

Though he has never spoken about it in public, sources said Srinivasan never forgot this embarrassment and wanted to set it right. Patel no more qualifies to be an office-bearer, since he turns 70 in November, so Binny it was.

For Srinivasan too, it was a matter of prestige. He had to prove that his word still counts. The official reason cited to Sourav is that no president has held office for two consecutive terms and there was no reason the East’s candidate could enjoy this privilege.

It was learnt that Srinivasan had gone to the extent of accusing Sourav of failing to live up to expectations. Questions are also being raised about a possible political motive with allegations surfacing that the BJP had gone against the former captain for not co-operating with them in Bengal.

“The BJP had been waiting for this opportunity to humiliate Sourav. They wanted some favours from him after helping him get the BCCI chair. But there was nothing forthcoming.

At least Sourav can be proud of one thing: he never played into the hands of any political party. He can always hold his head high,” someone close to Sourav said on Wednesday.

For Sourav, all doors to the BCCI have been shut, for now. The ICC chair’s nomination too seems a far-fetched dream.There’s no doubt his next move will be closely watched.

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