Sourav Ganguly wasted no time in spelling out his priorities and the way forward to revive the Board of Control for Cricket in India and re-establish the system of governance. The former India captain takes pride in getting the key role in assuring a new start in the BCCI, something akin to the challenges he faced on his debut as the Team India captain when he had to regroup the team following the dark episode to match-fixing.
“This (taking up as president, BCCI) is a similar sort of situation when I took up the captaincy of the Indian team. Things need to be brought back to the place, reforms need to be done, there is a huge amount of money needs to be paid to the State (cricket) associations. So it is completely a new start,” said Ganguly in his first Press conference as the BCCI President. “I consider myself very fortunate to be in a situation where I can make a change.”
The Maharaj of Indian cricket minced no words in sending the message loud and clear that it will be a unified command in the best interest of Indian cricket.
IT WILL BE MY WAY
On the question of governance and functioning, Ganguly made it clear that he will function in the manner he thinks is best in the interest of Indian cricket. “It is a new challenge. I will do (handle) it the way I do and the way I feel is the best for the BCCI. There will be no compromise on credibility. There will be corruption-free and the same for all BCCI. That was the way I led India and that is how I will take forward this organization during the time I have in the office,” said Ganguly, while saying that the young team will (new BCCI executive) will work hard.
KOHLI MOST IMPORTANT MAN
Laying down his priorities, Ganguly said he will speak to current skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday.
“Virat Kohli is the most important man in Indian cricket, we will listen to him. Mutual respect will be there, opinions will be there,” Ganguly responded when asked whether he will be speaking to Kohli, adds PTI.
“I will speak to Virat Kohli tomorrow (Thursday). we will support him in every possible way, whatever he wants,” he said. “I have been a captain myself so I understand things from that perspective.
DHONI’S FUTURE WITH TEAM INDIA
Till I am around, everybody will be respected, Ganguly on Dhoni’s international future. Dhoni’s future in international cricket will be addressed but vowed to accord the two-time World Cup winning captain respect during his tenure.
Ganguly said he doesn’t know what is in Dhoni’s mind but promised that a player of his stature will be accorded respect.
Dhoni has been on a sabbatical from international cricket since India’s semi-final exit in the ODI World Cup, leading to speculations about his future.
“You know champions don’t finish quickly. I don’t know what’s in his mind and what he thinks about his career. So we will deal with that you know,” Ganguly said at his media conference after taking over as the board president.
“He is one of the greats of the game and India is proud to have MS Dhoni over a period of time. If you even sit down and take note of what he has done, you say, ‘Wow, MS Dhoni’,” he said.
Legends of the game have often had unceremonious exit and Ganguly himself knows it more than anyone else how it feels to fight speculations and criticism. “Till I am around, everybody will be respected and that doesn’t change,” Ganguly said.
The Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament starts on November 9 and it is still not clear if Dhoni will be playing that tournament in case he wants to make himself available for selection for the West Indies tour at the end of the year.
ISSUES WITH ICC
India during the CoA regime has badly lost out on its position in the International Cricket Council. Ganguly has spelt out the ICC issue among the priorities of his tenure in office.
“ICC matter is important for everyone to know. India is supposed to get $372 million from the ICC in five-year cycle, which is a lot heavy at the back end as there are two ‘World tournaments’ – T20 World Cup in Australia and Champions Trophy in India and the ICC World Cup. There is a lots of ICC money and till now we have not got whatever it is, but we will make sure we get whatever is our due. We work with the ICC and take this forward.,” said BCCI president.
BANGLADESH TOUR OF INDIA
Ganguly expressed optimism that Bangladesh’s tour of India will go ahead as planned as their Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has “given her consent”.
The upcoming tour was on Monday thrown into jeopardy after their national team players refused to participate in any cricketing activity until their demands, including a hike in salary, are met.
Ganguly has maintained that Bangladesh will turn up for the tour starting November 3. “It’s their internal matter. (But) the Bangladesh PM has said she will turn up for the Test in Kolkata. If she has given her consent, I don’t see how the national team won’t,” Ganguly said.
Ganguly dismissed talks about splitting captaincy and allowing Rohit Sharma to lead in the white-ball cricket. “I don’t think this question arises. India is winning at the moment. They are probably the best team in the world,” Ganguly said.
FIVE PERMANENT VENUES
Skipper Virat Kohli has suggested having five fixed Test venues on the lines of England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket Australia, who play their big Test series on the designated elite venues.
Virat Kohli wants Tests to be played at only five Indian venues – is that the way forward? Join the debate.
When asked about it, Ganguly was non-committal on the matter. “In terms of Test venues, we have a lot of states, a lot of venues, so we will have to sit with him [Kohli] and see what he wants and take it forward.”
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Ganguly believes a conflict of interest is an issue that needs to be resolved in the best interest of cricket. “Conflict is still an issue. If you look at the status report filed (in the Supreme Court) by the CoA they have addressed the conflict issue. I don’t know when it will be resolved. But, we have to create a CAC (cricket advisory committee) to select and appoint selectors and other members who will be an important part of Indian cricket. We will ensure that they (CAC) have no conflict of interest,” he added.
Ganguly also assured that the cricketers will have an important role to play in BCCI’s functioning while emphasizing that henceforth only performance will matter in deciding the future of Indian cricket.