It is the first time in recent memory; a cricketer was given the power to rule the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). A lot of eye brows are raised, as Sourva Ganguly the former Indian Captain became the president of BCCI few days ago. While Sourav Ganguly is the current president of the Cricket Association of Bengal and has proved his credentials as a successful administrator in the last five years, cricketers and fans expect a lot of positive things from him.
What are the plans of Sourav Ganguly ?
Ganguly is a man of mystery. He has set a few goals and the primary ones are restructuring of first-class cricket. He is also planning to back the administration reforms to make the management in shape. Besides, he mentioned that a contract system will soon be in place for the first-class cricketers. He has also highlighted the fact that the financial health of domestic cricketers was paramount and he wanted to increase their match fees. This could be a game-changer for domestic cricketers, where a secured structured payment system just likes the annual central contract for the country's top international cricketers. It is believed that he will be asking the new finance (sub) committee to prepare a contract system. Currently, a domestic cricketer annually earns around Rs 25 to 30 lakh depending on the matches played.
The match fee for a first-class game is Rs 35,000 per day (excluding the daily allowance) and the domestic cricketers get 13 percent distributed amongst them from the gross revenue earned by BCCI through broadcast rights. However, in a diverse country like India, scheduling and reworking the modalities for the contract system will be a complex. Since every state has different kind of mechanism.
One should not forget the fact that Sourav Ganguly is also the current president of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) and has proven his credentials as a successful administrator in the last five years. He has already changed the face of the Eden Gardens, not just bringing in fresh resources, he has also improved the infrastructure at the iconic stadium in Kolkata. A trait of Ganguly which will be advantageous is to ask for opinions. In cricket as captain, he made the seniors to offer their opinions. But he is also known to finally doing the things which he pleases. Former Indian Cricketer Virendra Sehwag said, 'He would take six to seven views, either follow one view or come up with his own decision'.
He is aware of player's demands and knows what goes on between them. It will be an added plus to the, BCCI, administrative team and individual players. Several cricketers hope that they will immensely benefit after Ganguly takes up the new role, especially under the current circumstances. He has represented the country for a
long time and then went on to dominate Indian cricket first as a player then captain. He can bring about a lot of improvements and changes in terms of infrastructure and financial system as he knows the game inside out. If something is not happening in the cricket zone and among the administrators, organisers and players, Ganguly can make it happen immediately.
What are the Challenges ?
One of the primary challenges of the Ganguly, is that new members of the Board is a very young. They have to do a lot of hard work to understand what's been going inside the board such functioning, operation and decision making. Since, there have been no AGMs, no working committees in the last three years. So the younger members
have no idea how it has been done earlier in terms of cricket. Secondly, there is a lot of improvements needed in the National Cricket Academy (NCA). Many claim that the academy, should be made into a state-of-the-art facility. Besides, offering the much need guidance and mentorship. His take on veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni's international future, Day/Night Test cricket, permanent Test centres will be a big challenge. Finally, the new rule of BCCI removes the president’s power by 20 per cent, with the apex group out-ranking every individual's power and responsibility. In the new order, which works on the system of parliament and the executive system, the president is a bit more than a figure-head without the veto power which has been important power in the older system. Moreover, there many office-bearers with
political connection — Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah, Anurag Thakur’s brother Arun Singh Dhumal. This could be a big challenge for Sourav Ganguly.
Other side of Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly had a lot of differences with then Indian cricket team coach Greg Chappell in the early 2000s. In his book Fierce Focus, Chappell mentioned that Sourav was full of self-doubt and caught up with his own struggle for survival, he was consumed by what he saw as the threats around him. Besides, he also blamed the Indian ecosystem for the inadequacies that crop up in most cricketers. Chappell’s book also hints at how Ganguly was consumed by crony culture. He lashed out against Ganguly. He said, 'Ganguly didn’t want a coach, or an agent of change. He wanted a political ally'.
Let us leave the past behind, every one is waiting for Ganguly’s report card as BCCI chief. It’s a big test for the utopian idea of cricketers running the game of cricket. His team mates have their fingers crossed, and his enemies and detractors including the persons who had lost the presidential race to him, will be watching too. Can Sourav Ganguly revive and instil the same belief in the cricket board that he did in the Indian team almost 20 years ago. It is a tough question. During the
2000 match-fixing scandal, he was seen as the great saviour who would win back the trust of the fans. Now as BCCI president, he is expected to clear the dirty mess left behind by the IPL spot-fixing saga and corrupt practices in the most powerful cricket body of the world.