If Sanjay Jagdale is hard to miss at a function or press conference, it is only because of his tall frame and not because he went out of his way to get noticed as Board of Control for Cricket in India’s secretary. Ever since he started appearing in the media (in 2000) when he became a national selector from the Central Zone, Jagdale has preferred to stay low-profile. He performed high-pressure tasks – like managing the Indian team during their disastrous 2007 World Cup campaign — without a fuss.
On Friday, 62-year-old Jagdale quit as secretary of the BCCI alongwith treasurer Ajay Shirke. His supporters hope he will be involved with Indian cricket going by what he has contributed to the game. Before he became a national selector, Jagdale worked with junior cricket and had it not been for his coaching and mentoring efforts, a certain Narendra Hirwani would not have emerged.
Excerpts from a chat:
How did you feel when you woke up on Saturday morning?
Very relieved! There were a lot of things that were bothering me. I felt somebody who could handle this better than me, should come in. Even in Sunday’s meeting, it is not important who stays or who goes. What is important is BCCI taking steps which will restore the confidence among cricket lovers of this country. The top priority should be cleaning up the issue.
Did you enjoy your role as BCCI secretary?
Not as much as I enjoyed being a cricketer, coach and a selector.
What did you not enjoy?
Basically, the understanding when I took over was that I would look after cricket only — not deal with financial and legal matters. I never did. I was more keen on developing domestic cricket, coaching facilities and doing infrastructure work. Also, activities connected to developing the Indian team. Most of my time went into taking care of all those things.
You were manager of the Indian team when they were knocked out of the 2007 World Cup. How would you compare that period to the present one?
I think this is the worst period. Whatever happened then was part of the game — you win, you lose. There is no harm in losing on the field. This is something which will take time (to settle). It will take a lot of time and effort from the BCCI and all those people like me involved in administration and cricket.
How confident are you that the administrative side of things will get back on track?
I am pretty sure about that because there are a lot of committed people in the BCCI. We need to decentralise things. My only worry is that there is too much of commercialisation in cricket. We should give more emphasis to the game — its development and cricketers. Money is not a bad thing, but anything in excess is bad. The priority should be towards the game.
It is learnt that you played a big role in the appointment of Sandeep Patil as chairman of selectors…
Well, the selection committee is doing a good job. We are in process of rebuilding the team and I am very sure that this team will emerge as a very strong one in 18 months.
What were your more satisfying moments as BCCI secretary?
I have dealt with people on the grounds and pitch committee and you must have seen a change in the playing conditions of domestic cricket. We been able to involve men like Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly and a lot of former cricketers. We had two conclaves for first-class coaches and captains. We restructured domestic cricket. Earlier, each Ranji Trophy team played four matches. Now they get eight league matches. There are a lot of changes in age-group matches. These are the things that we did in the last one-and-a-half-year. A lot of people who love the game have contributed well — like Anil Kumble and Prof Ratnakar Shetty and the technical committee. A lot of useful information and suggestions were given by them and they were implemented.
Shouldn’t the Indian team have a permanent manager?
Yes, it’s a very good idea. I have gone as manager with the Indian team and after every tour I had suggested that the side should have a permanent manager. I have always been promoting it.
Will you miss the glamour of being the secretary of the BCCI?
I never looked it that way. I always looked at it as an opportunity to contribute my bit. I was never for glamour or exposure.
What’s your view on IPL?
Look, the IPL has its pluses and minuses. There are a lot of pluses also — the opportunity and security it provides the players, the money it generates for the government through taxes, the employment it generates. People don’t realise how many people are getting involved through IPL directly and indirectly. These advantages are most neglected. Apart from players, there are a lot of other people involved like technicians. IPL is a big source of employment. But, there are issues where we can improve. We need to be more transparent and there should be more discipline. Yes, there are a lot of areas where things can improve.
So there is no way you will go back on your decision to quit as secretary…
No. There are many people who are capable of taking care of that.
What is your view on the BCCI president’s future?
I won’t like to comment on that. Why should I comment on others?