Qaiser Mohammad Ali
Five days after Shashank Manohar turned 58, he was on Sunday elected unopposed as BCCI president for a second time for a two-year term that ends in September 2017.
The actual tenure for the Board office-bearers is of three years, but since the demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya necessitated election of his successor, the time now left in Manohar’s tenure is two years.
Manohar had no opposition as he was the only one to fill the nomination form for the top post by Saturday’s deadline. So, it just needed the BCCI’s general body on Sunday afternoon to formalise his appointment.
The first challenge for Manohar is to restore fans’ confidence in Indian cricket and its administration, especially following the 2013 IPL betting-fixing scandal, which shook the BCCI like never before and the aftereffects of which it has still not been able to shake off.
Minutes after taking over the reins, Manohar acknowledged the need to urgently streamline BCCI’s functioning.
“The first priority is to clean the image of the Board,” Manohar said after the special general body meeting at the BCCI headquarters at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. “It is the duty of all board members now to build the reputation of this Board.”
“BCCI would lay down norms and take measures to prevent corruption in the game,” he told reporters. “I am asking for two months’ time to clean up the Board. All the things about which I’ve spoken will be implemented in full force.”
Manohar has an impeccably clean image – in his previous stint he would not accept the BCCI’s TA/DA etc despite being entitled to do so – and that is what the BCCI desperately needs at the moment in view of the IPL betting-fixing court cases and the huge dent that it had received following the fixing scandal that broke out in 2013.
Among the accused was the son-in-law of the then BCCI president N. Srinivasan, and this further eroded fans’ confidence in the Board’s administrators, IPL matches, the results of which were seen with suspicion by many people, and Indian cricket in general.
Since mid-2013 the BCCI’s functioning has been crippled badly, it desperately needed someone with a clean image and good credentials to streamline administration with an iron hand, and bring its functioning back on the track.
Manohar, who still carries no mobile, has all those qualities. That he is a lawyer would also be a huge asset in tackling various court cases, numbering around 60, being fought in the various courts.
The masala-chewing Manohar had shown his mettle during his first stint, during which the IPL was launched. While IPL architect Lalit Modi had all the blessings and backing of Pawar, to which Manohar also belonged, as BCCI president he suspended Modi when it was alleged that he was involved in financial irregularities in the IPL and initiated a probe.
Manohar also put his foot down when Modi decided on the conditions for the tender inviting bidders for two additional teams to existing eight in 2010. He cancelled the tender and asked Modi to redraft the conditions and the tender was floated again.
After taking over the reins on Sunday afternoon, Manohar said that he would first set the house in order. He said that all meetings would now be held at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai and air tickets for meetings would be issued directly by the Board.
Previously, the state associations would buy tickets for those attending meetings and officials would get reimbursement from the BCCI, but this led some members to charge from both their own association and from the BCCI.
The Nagpur-based Manohar said that he and his team would try and conduct the ICC WorldTwenty20 in India early next year in “the best possible way”.
Manohar also said that he would continue Dalmiya’s reform agenda, and bring about transparency in financial administration of the BCCI.