A controversial build-up notwithstanding, the Delhi and District Cricket Association on Monday unveiled the statue of its former president Arun Jaitley at its premises.
Home Minister Amit Shah unveiled the life-size statue, prepared by 96-year-old sculptor Ram Sutar, who also made the Statue of Unity in Gujarat.
BCCI President and former India captain Sourav Ganguly, India opener Shikhar Dhawan, former player Gautam Gambhir, who is also a BJP MP from Delhi, BCCI Vice President Rajeev Shukla and Union Minister Hardeep Puri attended the ceremony along with a number of DDCA officials.
Former India cricketer Bishen Singh Bedi had severely criticised the DDCA for choosing to install the statue of an administrator instead of an inspirational cricketer and even demanded that his name be removed from one the stands at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground.
“Arun was like an elder brother to me. He was known for his sportsmanship spirit in political circle. He remained aggressive in his speeches but never lowered the dignity of the Parliament,” Shah said in his tribute to Jaitley, who remained DDCA President for 13 years.
Ganguly said Jaitley’s contribution was immense in the development of cricket in Delhi, though the DDCA has been in “turmoil” for some time.
“When we play and get 100, it gets recognition but lot of people work behind the scene and help the cricketers. He was a cricketer’s person. that is the role of an administrator,” he said.
“I remember a phone call (he) made during the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. We had lost the first game and the whole country went berserk but he (Jaitley) said that association supports you and you play well. These small things matter, he was a great human being,” said Ganguly.
“This is a remarkably talented state which has produced so many players, Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma, Rishabh Pant now and many in the past. A settled DDCA is good thing for Indian cricket and hopefully they can do it.”
Gambhir said the installation of Jailtely’’s statue is a perfect tribute to him.
“We won the Ranji Trophy during his tenure and the stadium was also built. Honesty, (being) intellectual and absolute transparency are important for any administrator and he had that,” said Gambhir.
With PTI Inputs