Qaiser Mohammad Ali
When N. Srinivasan at the 2011 BCCI AGM in September said that since Shashank Manohar was quite “young” he should accept ICC’s leadership “sometime in future” little did he know that four years later his words would come true – and at his own expense.
Obviously, Srinivasan had absolutely no inkling that 1,409 days later, Manohar would replace him as ICC boss in most acrimonious circumstances — and after highly dramatic and rapidly changed scenario within the BCCI.
During that 2011 AGM, the last meeting for Manohar as BCCI president, Srinivasan had quite sensationally disclosed that at one point in time ICC member countries wanted Manohar to take charge as ICC president.
Manohar, then still 10 days shy of turning 54, had politely declined. Sources close to him told this reporter that he didn’t want to take over the ICC reins immediately after his three-year BCCI term as president (2008-11).
A little over four years, circumstances changed so dramatically that a reluctant 58-year-old Manohar, known widely for his clean image, was virtually forced into taking over the BCCI reins after the death of Jagmohan Dalmya in September.
Manohar had largely kept low — only occasionally speaking out against the vice-like grip of Srinivasan on the BCCI, particularly after the IPL betting scandal broke out – since demitting BCCI president’s office on 19 September 2011 and handing over the charge to Srinivasan.
In a speech praising Manohar at the 2011 AGM, Srinivasan had begun dramatically, said two officials who were present at the meeting.
“Srinivasan made the disclosure about the ICC presidentship offer for Manahar during his speech even as he profusely praised the hard work done by him [Manohar] during his three-year tenure (2008-11) as BCCI president,” the officials had told this reporter.
Addressing the BCCI general body, Srinivasan had said: “None of you know that he [Manohar] was once offered the ICC presidentship, but knowing the man he is, he declined the offer… But he is still quite young and I think he should accept it sometime in the future.”
After the AGM, Srinivasan independently confirmed to this reporter the ICC offer for Manohar. “People in the ICC felt that he should become the president — that’s the esteem in which they held him,” Srinivasan had said.
One possible reason why Manohar declined the offer was that he was to succeed an Indian as ICC president, Sharad Pawar, and two administrators from one country couldn’t have become president, unless the ICC constitution was changed.
When asked if the ICC constitution would be changed to accommodate Manohar, Srinivasan had that day simply said, “That’s speculative. Don’t ask me.”
Sources close to Manohar, however, said that he is a kind of person who hadn’t wanted to take up the ICC responsibility soon after the BCCI presidentship. “He wanted a gap between the two [high-profile] jobs,” one of them had said.
Whatever the real reason, Srinivasan’s ‘prediction’ on 19 September 2011 came true on 9 November 2015 – 1,409 days later.
There could perhaps be no better person than Manohar to guide the BCCI in the present circumstances, when the world’s wealthiest cricket board is under intense scrutiny from all sides, particularly after the 2013 IPL betting-fixing scandal.
However, before agreeing for the job, Manohar had made it clear that he would not tolerate interference from anyone. Another reason for his emphasis was that a day before taking over he got an opportunity to read the mind of former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha, under whom the Supreme Court has appointed a committee to recommend reforms for the BCCI.
Manohar, according to sources, announced many steps that Lodha would probably recommend in his report that he is due to submit with the Supreme Court next month. Some people in the BCCI are already jittery at the prospect of the wide ranging recommendations that Lodha, known for his integrity, is expected to make to the Supreme Court.
Manohar, who has two years are left in his tenure after Dalmiya governed for one year, has already implemented a few of the steps he had promised on October 4, including the BCCI Annual Report, which comprises the highly secretive balance sheet.
In the last few years the BCCI has been uploading a portion of the Annual Report, but on Monday, it posted the entire 152-page report, though again on indications from Lodha Committee, says sources.