What Does the Election of Sourav Ganguly as BCCI President Mean for Indian Cricket
Not many can contest the proposition that the election of Sourav Ganguly as the BCCI President, rather the coronation of the Prince of Kolkata as the President-elect of the apex cricketing body in India, ensues excitement.
The reason simply is that there have been very few cases in the past where an international cricketer who has won so many laurels for the country has been stationed at the top of the administration machinery in India - the others being Ghulam Ahmed and Polly Umrigar.
With the constant squabbling going on in the BCCI under the Committee of Administrators (CoA) which was appointed under the directives of the Mudgal Committee, it was the need of the hour for a well-known and novel figure with a visionary cricketing brain to come to the party and lead Indian cricket in the right direction.
At the same time, you have to take it with a pinch of salt that this is not a completely new dawn as several oldheads such as N Srinivasan, Niranjan Shah and Rajiv Shukla were involved in Dada's election.
However, this is likely to reap rich dividends, albeit Ganguly has only 10 months to affect a change, before his three-year cooling off period sets in - Ganguly has been elected as the President of the Cricket Association of Bengal for two consecutive terms.
Ganguly, being a cricketer and having served India at the highest level, knows the pains and vagaries of cricketers. More importantly, he understands that the first-class structure and the players emanating from the grassroot level are key to the success of any sporting nation. Hence, he has already emphasized on increasing the remuneration of first-class players manifold.
"I am happy with the appointment because this is the time when BCCI's image has got hampered and it's a great opportunity for me to do something.
"Whether you are elected unopposed or otherwise, it's a big responsibility because it is the biggest organization in the world of cricket. India is a powerhouse. It will be a challenge," Dada said after being elected unopposed.
As is the case with every individual, there are a few things typical to Ganguly. He makes judgements and then sticks to them. The President-elect is a bit dogmatic in that regard and has an unflinching belief system. For better or worse, it will effect Indian cricket. Case in point, his inclination to back Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane at number four in the ODIs may not be a popular opinion but the Bengal Tiger couldn't care less.
That said, he is also ingenious and is ready to take a gamble. For instance, the pitch at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata was a very slow one for the longest time but he grabbed the bull by the horns and laid a new square after assuming office at CAB.
The move could well have backfired but the former captain stuck to his guns and now Eden Gardens has one of the most sporting pitches that India possess.
His equation with Team India head coach Ravi Shastri is rather interesting, with the two having publicly exchanged barbs at various times, especially during the last to last selection process of the Indian coach. Ganguly then, along with VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar, was part of the committee responsible for the coach's selection. It is largely believed that Ganguly did not want Shastri to be selected the head coach but had to give way upon the insistence of skipper Virat Kohli.
Dada's rapport with Kohli is another fascinating study. The 47-year-old has said publicly stated that he wants Kohli to focus on ICC events as India remains without an ICC title win since the 2013 Champions Trophy.
The synergy of the two cricketing minds on this issue would be interesting to cover. It is ideal that a forward-looking plan is properly laid out which is very much possible under a methodical individual like Ganguly.
Notably, as was in the case of Kumble, Kohli is not very compatible with headstrong personalities, with him being one himself. How the relation of the team management i.e Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli pans out with Dada will be the most interesting development to track for the Indian cricket fans in the coming 10 months.
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