The negotiations are over, compromises made, and the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle is slotted tightly. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has a new president!
Now, Indian cricket can be ruled by a stable head, a departure from the instability caused by the 2013 Indian Premier League spot-fixing controversy, which led to then president N Srinivasan being sidelined and the appointment of the late Jagmohan Dalmiya, whose ill health rendered the BCCI akin to a batsman batting on an up and down pitch.
With due credit to Srinivasan’s administrative expertise (even his sharpest critic Manohar has called him BCCI’s best ever secretary after Dalmiya), he was viewed as power hungry and unwilling to step aside on a matter of principal when his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was accused of indulging in betting.
Manohar appears to be a good choice — not too archaic, not very young. It’s good to see that he is very clear in his agenda — to make cricket a cleaner game in this country, to ensure state associations get subsidiaries only if they have their accounts in order and probably most pleasing of all, to make Indian cricket stronger by transforming the National Cricket Academy into a centre of excellence rather than let it run as a mere rehabilitation centre for injured players.
The Nagpur administrator is also keen to lift India’s spin bowling stocks. This borders on the noble, because the land of the turning ball must, at all times, have quality tweakers to live up to the legacy of not only the famous spin quartet of Bedi, Chandrasekhar, Prasanna and Venkat, but also Anil Kumble, India’s most successful bowler in Test cricket. Women’s cricketers will be thrilled at Manohar’s announcement that they will be given central contracts.
Lack of transparency is a pet hate of the media and though Manohar has vowed to make his establishment more of an open book, he’ll do well to allow the present flow of information to the media continue, something which can be credited to secretary Anurag Thakur.
Manohar’s road is not paved with gold, but his Sunday coronation has provided Indian cricket better wheels.