BCCI president-elect Sourav Ganguly has said that setting right the image of the Indian cricket board and looking after the financial health of first class cricketers, will be his immediate priorities after taking office.
But until 10:30pm on Sunday, 14 October, the former India captain had no idea he was going to be made Indian cricket’s big boss after 33 months of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators managing affairs.
“I had never expressed my aspirations. There were senior people in the BCCI. I never spoke to anyone, never expressed that I was keen. Till 10:30 at night I wasn’t aware of this until I was told that I need to be president, and take this association forward with Jay Shah and Varun and the apex council members,” said Ganguly.
“I thought it was a great responsibility because even when I became captain in 2000, there were issues in Indian cricket. It’s always great to be looked at as someone who could do the job in difficult situations, and hopefully I can deliver,” he added.
“It’s a Very Important Time in Indian Cricket Administration”
In Ganguly, the BCCI will have its first President since Anurag Thakur was forced out in January 2017 following the appointment of the CoA.
The former India captain would be at helm for a mere nine months but he said it's a great opportunity to do "something good". He is the only candidate to have filed nomination for the post of President.
“It’s a very important time in Indian cricket administration because of everything that has happened in the last three years. To be in a position where I can make a change along with the team, would be extremely satisfying,” Ganguly said.
“So hopefully in the next few months we can put everything into place and bring back normalcy in Indian cricket," said the former India captain, who will have to demit office in July, due to compulsory cooling off period.
“Biggest Priority Will be on First-Class Cricket”
The 47-year-old plans to meet all the stakeholders in Indian cricket and wants to do something that Committee of Administrators (CoA) didn't do for about three years.
"We will speak to everyone first as we take a decision but my biggest priority will be to look after first class cricketers. I had requested that to the CoA but they didn't listen. That's the first thing I will do, look after the financial health of our first-class cricketers," said Ganguly, who scored more than 18,000 international runs.
"Their remuneration needs to be increased manifold, he added.
Being selected unopposed is a big responsibility, Ganguly admitted.
"Whether unopposed or not, there has to be responsibility as it is the biggest organisation in world cricket. Financially, India is a cricketing powerhouse, so it will be a challenge," he said.
Does he regret that the term will be only for nine months?
"That's the rule and we will deal with it."
“Don’t Have Any Political Goals at the Moment”
Ganguly said that after the new constitution came into effect, it was difficult for many to gauge the scope and role in various situations.
"A lot of people are tentative to decide even on positions, because if it is not good enough and you cannot make a lot of difference, then you don't want to be a part of it. And then you also end up losing your position in state association," he said.
He reportedly met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday and when asked if he will have to campaign for the BJP in West Bengal, he replied in a negative.
"No, no nothing of that sort. Nobody told me anything. No politician was in touch with me and that's what it is," Ganguly denied any political interference. When asked if he had any political goals, the former India captain said, “No I don’t have any political goals at the moment”.
When told that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has wished him luck, he smiled and replied, "I would like to thank Mamata didi for her good wishes”.
Jagmohan Dalmiya had pulled off some amazing board room coups during his tenure. Talking about the late BCCI boss, Ganguly got emotional.
"I never imagined (that I will be in shoes of late Jagmohan Dalmiya). He was like a father to me. There has been some great presidents of BCCI, Mr Srinivasan, Anurag, who have done great job," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)
. Read more on Cricket by The Quint.RSS & BJP’s Nehru-Netaji ‘Cosplay’: Irony Dies a Thousand DeathsNever Expressed Aspirations to Be BCCI President: Sourav Ganguly . Read more on Cricket by The Quint.