There has been a tectonic shift in the BCCI. The faction fight has succeeded to the extent of freeing the cricket admin from years of being beholden to a single stream of thought in which only two things seemed to matter – control and money. Quite a few things may change soon enough and some who were cemented to their posts may feel the shift most.
The changes should make a big difference as the president and the secretary are likely to be more liberal thinkers on the game. Some extreme positions that BCCI took, especially in matters like the umpire referral system, are certain to change. It is no more a question of bending to one man’s will in every aspect of the game. If reason be the guide, there is a chance the BCCI will get more modern.
There will be changes in personnel as is always likely to happen when power shifts. A larger role for someone like Sourav Ganguly is easily predicted. His symbiotic relationship with Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya, the comeback president, is too well-known. The president’s backing is what made Ganguly one of the strongest captains of Team India and he repaid that faith by thinking nationally and becoming as much a leader as captain.
Shedding the old ‘Zone’ mentality in Indian cricket was never an easy task. Ganguly may have managed it better since he had few talents in his home zone to promote and protect. Having committed himself to staying attached to the game through the commentary box and keeping a foot in the administration, Ganguly is bound to emerge as a personality who will be given a bigger hand in determining the direction Team India should take after the defence of the World Cup title.
With Ravi Shastri virtually controlling the team there may be no space in management unless BCCI feels the need to look for an Indian star to be the coach of the team. And since Duncan Fletcher’s presence has done nothing for the team’s Test performances abroad, which remain poor to abysmal, it might just be the time to bring in a senior Indian player to take over the reins of technique and game skills management.
Shastri himself might fit the bill, but if he needs help in an expanding task it might be time to go for either Rahul Dravid or Sourav Ganguly as the coach of Team India. This would make perfect sense too as the global bank of coaching talent is short of options now and Team India has anyway been through most of the top ones already. It appears now is the time to think afresh in this matter. The time for hiring foreign management talent might have run out.
The new Test skipper Virat Kohli, who might soon be handling greater responsibility across formats, might also need stronger hands to guide him in this maze of modern cricket with cricketers needing to be tech savvy too in terms of handling Twitter. Handling the media is an old chestnut, which BCCI has never got right in the most modern era because it believes in only the television bringing in the money and so there is no need to seek an image. But it appears there has been a TV revenue downturn with our poor millionaire cricketers getting Rs 38 crores less in the kitty this season by way of their share from BCCI revenues.
As Mr Pawar said after the momentous and somewhat contentious elections, BCCI is not a body to be under anyone’s thumb, be it his own, Mr Dalmiya’s or Mr Srinivasan’s. Indian cricket must act as the guardian of the world game now and not remain the handmaiden of personal ambitions of ‘control’ freaks. That was the foremost lesson to come out of the latest round of politicking for control of the board.