Seven years after ceasing to be president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Jagmohan Dalmiya’s word still counts.
It is learnt that yesterday’s decision to resume cricketing ties with Pakistan at the BCCI working committee was hastened by the 72-year-old veteran administrator.
The two-hour long meeting saw Dalmiya taking a lead role in a working committee meeting after a long time.
BCCI vice-president and Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Rajeev Shukla floated the idea of organising the series after the England cricket team departed for their Christmas break. But Shukla’s view raised a debate. Dalmiya who seconded Shukla, spoke for about 20 minutes, following which a unanimous decision to host Pakistan for three one-dayers and a couple of Twenty20 fixtures was made.
Dalmiya, who was expelled from the Board in 2006 only to be exonerated later, turned the tide in favour of those members who voiced support for the bilateral series.
“It was Dalmiya, who took forward the issue of playing a bilateral series. He stressed to us the need of maintaining good relations with neighbouring boards. Those who were a bit hesitant and were debating the issue — whether it would be right to invite Pakistan at this juncture — were convinced with his viewpoint,” a top BCCI official told MiD DAY yesterday.
It is learnt that the former BCCI and International Cricket Council (ICC) president even put forward the example as to how he brought India-Pakistan cricket back (as BCCI president) by convincing the Central Government, run by the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2004. “He recalled how he convinced then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee which resulted in India touring Pakistan for three Tests and five one-dayers in March-April 2004,” the official said.
‘Keeping the Asian bloc intact’ was another ground for the re
sumption of cricketing ties between the neighbouring countries. “Dalmiya highlighted the importance of maintaining unity among the Asian full members of the ICC —India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka,” the official added.
As a result of yesterday’s meeting, the Dalmiya-headed Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) was rewarded with a one-dayer at Eden Gardens and that too out of turn.
According to insiders, Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali lost out and Kolkata clinched it. Delhi and Chennai are the other hosts for the 50-over series while the two Twenty20 ties will be played at Bangalore and Ahmedabad.