Leander Paes: Sourav Ganguly a great candidate for BCCI president role

BCCI president-elect Sourav Ganguly's old friend Leander Paes believes his appointment will encourage more sportspersons to move to sports administration.

Leander Paes on Sourav Ganguly: “He is a great candidate as the president of the BCCI because firstly he is an athlete, who knows the nuances of what it takes to run the sport, both on and off the field. He has got his head on his shoulders. It’s wonderful to see an athlete come into administration…”   -  Getty Images/M. Vedhan

As Sourav Ganguly looks set to take charge as the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), his old friend and tennis legend, Leander Paes, believes that this will encourage more sporting icons across disciplines to move to sports administration.

“I think looking at him, a lot of other great athletes will definitely look to come into governance and leave their mark and make a difference to the community through sport,” Paes told Sportstar on Tuesday.

The last Indian Test cricketer to become the BCCI president was Maharaja Kumar Vizianagaram, who led India during the three-match Test series in England in 1936. He was the president from 1954-56. Shivlal Yadav and Sunil Gavaskar were interim presidents in 2014.

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But Ganguly’s transformation from an India captain to the board president-elect has been quite a journey. Having known Ganguly since his childhood, Paes feels the 47-year-old is the "perfect candidate" for the top job.

“If you look at Sourav’s career, he started off in Kolkata, playing the Ranji Trophy. From there, he got a chance to move to the next level, playing in the national team. Thereon, he took the opportunity and became one of the best captains of all time and went on to popularise the game across the country with his brand of cricket,” Paes said.

Elaborating further, Paes said: “He (Ganguly) is a great candidate as the president of the BCCI because firstly he is an athlete, who knows the nuances of what it takes to run the sport, both on and off the field. He has got his head on his shoulders. It’s wonderful to see an athlete come into administration…”

After filing his nomination as the consensus candidate, Ganguly is set to officially take over as the president on October 23 -- after the BCCI Annual General Meeting. And Paes is looking forward to his ‘old friend’ and city-mate’s new innings!