Finally, it seems to be curtains on the suspense over who will head the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after incumbent Jagmohan Dalmiya passed away last week. Former BCCI chief Shashank Manohar appears set to return to head the cricket body. BCCI’s two factions — one each backed by BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar — have projected Manohar as their consensus candidate for the BCCI chief’s post. Manohar, a 57-year-old Vidarbha lawyer, had headed BCCI from 2008 to 2011.
He was succeeded by N Srinivasan. Known for his clean image and uncompromising attitude on issues like corruption in sports, Manohar emerged as the most suitable candidate for both Pawar and Thakur factions. News agency PTI quoted a senior BCCI official as saying: “It took a lot of persuasion from Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Anurag Thakur to convince a reluctant Manohar to take up the top job again. An agreement on this emerged when Pawar, the leader of Manohar’s group, also gave his go-ahead in the matter, along with former treasurer Ajay Shirke.
According to an ESPNcricinfo report, a BCCI official who did not wish to be named said a formal announcement was likely to make it clear that Manohar was the “unanimous choice” as a candidate to stand for the elections to the president’s post, necessitated after Dalmiya's death on September 20.
The ESPNcricinfo report further says that Manohar declined to divulge details of his meeting with Finance Minister Jaitley, who was earlier the chief of the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA). He termed this meeting a “private conversation”, and also said he would wait for his group’s opinion before making up his mind.
However, he acknowledged that he met Jaitley on Thursday evening in Delhi. Also present at the meeting were Anurag Thakur, who is also the head of the BJP’s youth wing, and Ajay Shirke, former BCCI treasurer and current president of the Maharashtra Cricket Association.
The Times of India has reported that putting all speculation to rest, Shirke categorically told the newspaper on Saturday that Manohar was the “unanimous choice” of the Sharad Pawar-Anurag Thakur alliance to take over as the next BCCI president. “Manohar is our unanimous choice,” Shirke was quoted as saying. Asked whether the former BCCI president had agreed to take charge of the top post, Shirke said: “Yes. I wouldn’t be telling you this otherwise. I’ve no doubt that he has (agreed). The formal announcement regarding this will be made soon.” The magic figure With the Thakur and Pawar factions coming together, Manohar is now assured of getting at least 15 of the 29 votes, the magic figure required for taking the hot seat. While it is known that Tamil Nadu strongman and India Cements chief N Srinivasan is not in race for the top job himself, the vote split also dashes his hopes of putting up a favoured candidate.
Manohar, a staunch critic of Srinivasan Manohar has been a staunch critic of Srinivasan since the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing scandal broke out. He was completely against the rumoured alliance between Srinivasan and Pawar after the two former BCCI presidents met in Nagpur recently. After this, Pawar honoured his faction’s sentiment and withdrew.
Bengal association’s role
Either the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) or the National Cricket Club (NCC) — both controlled by former India captain cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly — is likely to propose Manohar’s candidature as this is the East zone’s turn to propose.