After a lot of heckling and late parlays, Sourav Ganguly surprising emerged ahead of the pack to become the new President of the BCCI. He was elected to the post unopposed, allegedly beating out strong competition from Brijesh Patel, who had the firm backing of Tamil Nadu strongman N Srinivasan. But Ganguly, the ever-strong tactical leader, had firepower in his armoury as well. The former Indian captain had strong political clout in his campaign, with former BCCI President Anurag Thakur and Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s son, Jay Shah backing him. After being elected, Ganguly personally thanked Thakur for getting proceedings over the line.
— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) October 14, 2019
Now that Ganguly has become the leader of Indian cricket with a strong team behind him, there will be high expectations. Having been so successful as the captain, the Indian crowds will hope that he tastes similar success as an administrator and takes Indian cricket to new heights. Here we list down a few of the tasks which will be high up his checklist:
Prioritize domestic cricket
Ganguly himself has stated that this issue will be at the top his agenda once he takes over. Addressing the media after it became clear that he would be the new man in charge, Ganguly said:
“For me, my biggest focus will be first-class cricket. I have been very vocal about looking after the first-class players, especially the time they invest. First-class cricket is the base, the strength. I have written so many times in the last few years that the remunerations need to increase, and increase manifold. So that’s going to be priority to set the fc cricket in order. Look at cricket structure, look how governance happens and see smooth functioning happens with no issues.”
If he manages to further strengthen domestic cricket at the grassroots level, there will be a wider pool of international-level cricketers available for selection in the future.
Do not meddle with the first-team affairs
There were a lot of funny posts on social media, trolling head coach Ravi Shastri after Ganguly’s appointment was announced. There is no love lost between the pair and people have heard many public squabbles between the two in the past. But the team right now is doing exceptionally well under the vision of Shastri and skipper Kohli. They have built a formidable unit in the Test format. Some serious talent is also coming through in the limited-overs units. Yes, there will be a need for a wrap on the knuckles from time to time. But the first team should largely remain an independent entity not to be tampered with.
Take a call on MS Dhoni’s future
So far, nobody has been able to tackle the biggest mystery in Indian cricket head on – the future of MS Dhoni. Both the team management and selectors have been less than forthcoming on the issue. The man himself in question has maintained a sturdy silence. There needs to be clarity though for the fans as to what lies in the future for one of India’s most successful captain.
It seems though as Ganguly himself wants to resolve the issue once and for all. Ganguly has stated that he will communicate with the selectors to decide Dhoni’s future soon:
“I will find out from the selectors when I meet them on October 24. We will find out what the selectors are thinking and then I will put forth my opinion. We will have to see what Dhoni wants. I will also speak to him what he wants to do and what he does not want to do. Since I was not in the picture, it maybe a case that it’s not clear with me as of now. Now I am in a position to find out and then will decide on the way forward.”
With Ganguly being well-versed with the demands of being a high-profile cricketer, we may well soon find out what the future holds for MSD.
Deal diplomatically with the ICC
The Indian board is set to enter into a major conflict with the International Cricket Council. The big dispute with the ICC is set to be over post-2023 FTP, where the international body has come up with some interesting ideas, to say the least. The ICC has proposed a 50-over World Cup every three years, a T20 World Cup every alternate year and a new tournament which will be similar to the Champions Trophy. All these decisions have been made without the consent of the BCCI, the most powerful cricketing body in the world. If a major rift emerges between the two involved parties, it could shake up the game to its very core. How Ganguly wades through these muddied waters in his 10-month tenure will largely determine the success of his reign.
Improve fan interaction
A sport simply cannot continue to be a popular entity without the support of the masses. The interest of the fans should always be a priority, an area where the BCCI has often come up short. There was a lot of criticism recently for the BCCI, for hosting India’s Test against South Africa at the MCA Stadium in Pune.
Infrastructure-wise, it is an excellent venue, but it provided very little in terms of service to the fans. Reaching the stadium was a hassle with its remote location. There were no shades at the venue, leaving the spectators hanging out to dry. Furthermore, basic amenities like food, water, beverages and umbrellas were not allowed inside the venue. In the end, why should fans turn out in huge numbers to the stadium to cheer their hearts out for the team they love? Sadly, this is not an isolated incident and the welfare of the fans has been at the bottom of the barrel.
Social media has also been a stickler when it comes to BCCI. It has become a huge medium to increase the popularity of the game and has been widely used by the likes of Australia and England. The Indian board has been left behind by leaps and bounds as far as this area is concerned. Updates are few and far between and fans are left starving for quality content and a chance to interact with their idols.
Ganguly would be wise to look into this area in order to not be left behind in the modern times.