A week after he emerged as the sole candidate, former India captain Sourav Ganguly was unanimously elected as the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India on Wednesday. The decision was taken at the General Body Meeting in Mumbai on Wednesday after Ganguly had filed his nomination for the post last week at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai.
Along with Ganguly as President, the following were elected as the office-bearers of the BCCI.
- Jay Shah: Secretary
- Arun Singh Dhumal: Treasurer
- Mahim Verma : Vice-President
- Jayesh George: Joint Secretary
Sourav Ganguly, President
The man who needs no introduction to Indian cricket fans. Ganguly is easily the most high-profile name to head the world’s richest cricket board that has been mired in administrative turmoil for the past three years.
The 47-year-old Ganguly was officially entrusted with the task of heading Indian cricket for the next nine months at the BCCI’s General Body meeting, ending a controversial 33-month reign of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators.
Ganguly’s appointment as the BCCI’s 39th President was finalised last week. He succeeds CK Khanna, who was the interim head of the Board since 2017.
“It’s an honour that I have been asked to take this role. It’s a new start for the BCCI,” said Ganguly, clad in his India blazer which was given to him during the time he served as India captain. “I find myself in a position where I can make a change and it’s a challenge.”
Ganguly, who took over as India captain during one of its darkest hours following the 2000 match-fixing scandal, will need to demit office by the end of July next year as per the provisions of the new constitution, which makes ‘Cooling-Off’ period mandatory after six years in office.
One of the most elegant left-handers to have represented India, Ganguly is expected to make use of his experience gained as the secretary and later president of the Cricket Association of Bengal. He has set a few goals and the primary ones are restructuring of first-class cricket as well as getting the administration back in shape along with getting India’s position of reverence back in the corridors of International Cricket Council (ICC).
With the conflict of interest rules in place, Ganguly will face the challenge of having quality cricketers on board as far as the Cricket Advisory Committee and national selection committees are concerned. His role in deciding veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s international future, Day/Night Test cricket, permanent Test centres will also be keenly followed.
The surnames of a couple of members of Ganguly’s team are very familiar ones in Indian cricketing circles.
In the meeting that was also a reunion of sorts for some of the familiar faces associated with the board before the CoA’s institution, Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah was made the secretary.
During his tenure, Ganguly will look to coordinate with old guard such as former President N Srinivasan and ex-Secretary Niranjan Shah, whose children are now part of the BCCI. Mahim Verma of Uttarakhand became the new vice-president.
Former BCCI president and current junior finance minster Anurag Thakur’s younger brother Arun Dhumal became the treasurer while Kerala’s Jayesh George took the joint secretary’s position.
Thakur recently stepped down as the President of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association after a span of 10 years and was replaced by Arun. The latter brings with him three years of administrative experience at the HPCA, having served as the vice-president from 2012 to 2015 under Thakur.
Perhaps the name that caught the attention of media most after Ganguly’s was that of 31-year-old Jay Shah. Youngest of the committee by some distance, Shah (Indian home minister Amit Shah’s son) has been with the Gujarat Cricket Association since 2009. Jay, an engineer, has also been part of the ongoing construction of what is expected to be the world’s largest stadium in Ahmedabad.
Mahim Verma, the new VP, took over as the joint-secretary of Uttarakhand’s state body in 2009. He held that position for 10 years until last month, when he became the secretary unopposed.
George was an office-bearer from 2013 to 2018 at Kerala Cricket Association in three different capacities: joint-secretary, secretary and treasurer. He has also been the manager of India A teams on overseas tours of Australia and New Zealand recently, according to ESPNCricinfo. At 50, he is the oldest of the BCCI’s five office-bearers.
There is some controversy surrounding his election as he has recently been accused of large-scale financial corruption by former players and former members of KCA. The group, called ‘We for Clean Cricket Movement’ alleged that George committed several financial irregularities during his tenure with the state cricket unit, according to a report by The Times of India.
They have alleged that George was involved in laundering about Rs 2.5 crore from KCA when he was the treasurer, joint-secretary or secretary. They also accused George and his team of using the order of the ombudsman to remove the former president TC Mathew from the primary membership of KCA.
“The allegations raised are from 2013 to 2018. I assumed charge as secretary of KCA only on January 2, 2017. So most of these corruption allegations raised are beyond my purview,” George had said in response.
“It’s a very young group. We will have to do a lot of hard work to understand what’s been going on. There have been no AGMs, no working committees in the last three years, so we have no idea how it has been done. We will take note of everything,” Ganguly said.