The start of the Sourav Ganguly regime in BCCI

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly will have fresh set of challenges in his role as BCCI president starting October 23.

BCCI president-elect Sourav Ganguly will officially take guard on October 23.   -  FILE PHOTO/PTI

When Sourav Ganguly addressed the media after filing his nomination for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president role last week, he was asked whether his new innings will be more challenging than his Test debut against England in 1996.

The former India captain smiled and said, “Playing for India was more challenging.”

But the reality is a bit different.

The 47-year-old takes over as the BCCI chief after three years of Committee of Administrators (CoA) rule. And by Ganguly’s own admission, the last three years have been more like an ‘emergency situation’, where the cricketers and the state associations had very little role to play.

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And having seen that from close quarters as the president of Cricket Association of Bengal, Ganguly said his main objective will be to put the first-class cricketing structure in place and also ensure that India regains its dominating stature in the corridors of International Cricket Council (ICC).

This publication has learned that Ganguly also had a word with ICC chief Shashank Manohar. Being aware that the board share from the ICC revenue will be $405 million in the 2016-2023 cycle, his challenge will be to ensure an Income Tax exemption from the Indian government for the ICC T20 World Cup in 2021 and the World Cup in 2023. Ganguly will have to pull his clout to get it done as it stands crucial for the BCCI.

In the recent past, former cricketers have been vocal about the falling standards in first-class cricket. Even though the teams have increased, the facilities haven’t witnessed a change in numbers, leading to a chock-a-block calendar along with pitch issues.

Ganguly has always batted for improving the payment structure, but so far very little could be done.

Picking a new selection committee and a Cricket Advisory Committee is another challenge. With the Conflict of Interest looming large, most quality players have found themselves in a spot. And having faced the heat for his dual roles — in CAB and IPL franchise Delhi Capitals — Ganguly’s prime objective would be to find a practical solution.

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“Conflict is an issue whether you will actually get the best cricketers in the system. You are not too sure as they will have other options and if they come into this system and not get to do something which is their livelihood, then it gets difficult to be part of the system. It needs to be looked into,” Ganguly said, making his views cleared on the ‘one person, one position’ policy.

The former India captain was a part of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) which was dissolved after Ethics Officer DK Jain received multiple complaints.

“If you look at all the appointments that have happened in various forms — whether it is the NCA or CAC or the appointment of batting, fielding coaches, there has been issue with everything. Then come to commentators or IPL. This needs to be sorted as it is another very serious issue in Indian cricket.”

As far as domestic cricket is concerned, Ganguly is likely to meet NCA director, Rahul Dravid, at the NCA on October 30 to decide on the roadmap for the future. That, meeting, many feel will be of immense significance.

There are issues to be addressed on the international cricketing front too. With no clarity on Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s future, Ganguly is likely to meet the outgoing national selection panel on Thursday to discuss his future.

He is likely to meet captain Virat Kohli to know his plans as well. India hasn’t won an ICC tournament in six years, and Ganguly has taken a note of that.

Contrary to speculations, any changes in support staff — which is led by head coach Ravi Shastri — is unlikely, but don’t be surprised if Ganguly involves a few former cricketers in the set-up.

Coming in at a time when Indian cricket administration is at its lowest, in terms of spirit and trust, it is a challenge for the new apex council to get the house in order. Apart from Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah and joint secretary Jayesh George, no one else has prior experience about BCCI politics and for ‘captain’ Ganguly, the first test will be to get the ball rolling.

With just 10 months in hand, before he goes into the mandatory cooling off period, Ganguly has a lot to prove. And this challenge is no less than donning the whites for India at Lord’s.

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