MUMBAI: Newly-elected president Shashank Manohar vowed to clean the image of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after being chosen on Sunday to head the world’s richest cricket board for a second time.
A respected cricket administrator who does not carry a mobile phone or wear a watch, Manohar’s unopposed election fills the void left by former International Cricket Council chief Jagmohan Dalmiya, who died last month. Manohar headed BCCI from 2008-2011 and seemed to have no illusions about the job in hand as he took charge of a board perceived as an efficient but opaque body run by political bigwigs and industrialists with conflicting interests
“The first priority is to clean the image of the board and restore the faith of the cricket-loving fans,” said Manohar, whose appointment has been seen as a setback for ICC chairman and former BCCI president N. Srinivasan. “There is…grievance that the board is not transparent, everything is kept under the wraps,” Manohar said in his first comments after his appointment.
“Nothing wrong is being done by the board. It’s a perception which has been created in the mind of the people that because information does not come out, there is something wrong in this board.” The board would soon put its constitution, expenditure details and balance sheet on its website to “clear that myth and change the perception”, added the 58-year-old lawyer from Nagpur.
The BCCI has been grappling with a fixing scandal around the Indian Premier League and has spent significant time defending itself in the apex court. Manohar said the board would appoint an independent ethics officer who would look into cases of conflict of interests involving players and administrators. He also promised central contracts for women cricketers, revival of the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, and financial accountability in the state units.
Manohar said that the new dispensation would not have a “vindictive attitude” towards anyone including former chief N Srinivasan, whom he termed as “one of the best secretaries” of the board. “We are not working here with a vindictive attitude. The entire Board – all 30 members including the Tamil Nadu CA (headed by Srinivasan) was united that all of us have to work together to build the image of this Board. For that, we can’t fight amongst ourselves and have any vindictive attitude when we decide on matters,” said Manohar, without elaborating anything about Srinivasan’s future as chairman of ICC.
“I can tell you Srinivasan was an excellent secretary, he was better than most of the secretaries I have come across in the Board. He was one of the best secretaries to have as I found out during my (2008-09 to 2010-11) tenure. I don’t know what happened after I completed my term in 2011. I was not in touch. Srinivasan was by far the best secretary after Mr Dalmiya,” Manohar said. However, he left it to the general body of the Board to decide whether to continue to nominate Srinivasan’s name as the chairman of the International Cricket Council.
“The General Body has to decide at the AGM,” he answered. Asked about one office-bearer, treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary having filed an affidavit against secretary Anurag Thakur in the perjury case filed by Srivasan against the latter, Manohar – without elaborating – said that it had been sorted out between the concerned persons.
“The issue was discussed after the meeting (SGM) got over and the issue has been sorted out. It was informally discussed and sorted out. I never said it happened in the meeting.” He reiterated during the media interaction that followed his opening address at the media conference that his first priority was to clean up the image of the game.
“My first priority is to clean the image of the sport. As far as young faces (in administration) it’s always better as the new generation have new ideas while the older generation has fixed notions and they work accordingly. Development can take place only when new generation comes in. I would encourage good administrators irrespective of whether whether he is a player or not.”
On the option before the BCCI of terminating the two suspended IPL franchises — Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals — Manohar asked for time to study the whole issue. “It is hardly 25 minutes back that I took over (as President) and you can’t expect me to look into all the Board’s records. At least give me two months’ time. There are a lot many issues to be addressed. After two months, you can ask me any question.” But he insisted that next year’s IPL will take place.
“It would happen,” he said to a pointed question. He also supported all the facets of DRS except it being used to decide on leg before the wicket decision given by the on-field umpire. “I am agreeable to everything except the lbw decision because you are substituting the opinion of the third umpire in place of the main umpire while even the camera angle can make a difference with regard to the angle of the delivery.” (PTI)