Chennai: Sourav Ganguly will not be the first Test cricketer to become the president of BCCI. The honour, curiously, belonged to the Maharajah of Vizianagaram, who played for India because he was from a princely state (Shivlal Yadav was interim president in 2014 during the cricket crisis of confidence following the IPL betting scandal).
Ganguly will be the most accomplished cricketer ever to do what could be called the third most important job in India — the first being that of the Prime Minister and the second the captain of the Indian cricket team. BCCI presidents from the founding Englishman R.E. Grant-Govan to princes and industrialists were powerful people because they represented authority in India’s most popular game and were its most public face.
Ganguly was always different. When he toured Australia in 1991-92, he stood out as a rich kid who would use the horrendously expensive hotel phone lines while the rest of the team would line up in front of the coin box telephones in the lobby to call home. You could call him a princely cricketer who has now ascended to the most infl-uential job of cricket administrator heading the BCCI.
Board presidents have wielded such power as to discipline players, set up probe committees and invest them with power to even ban players as it happened in the case of Bishan Bedi, who was stood down for one Test just because he gave an interview to BBC in 1974. As BCCI president A.C. Muthiah once set up a one-man probe panel that banned Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma from the game. BCCI chief have been powerful eno-ugh to dictate to world cricket on how the game is to be run because India brings about 70 per cent of the revenues.