An early Virat Kohli backer
Ex-BCCI GM, Professor Ratnakar Shetty recalls how the late Arun Jaitley told Board officials that Kohli would be a star after an overseas century for NCA in 2008
Arun Jaitley's years as a cricket administrator coincided with a glorious era for cricket in the Capital during which there was significant Delhi representation in the Indian team.
Former finance minister, DDCA president (1999-2013) and BCCI vice-president Jaitley, 66, passed away in New Delhi on Saturday.
Former India batting stalwart Virender Sehwag tweeted: "Pained at the passing away of #ArunJaitley ji. Apart from having served greatly in public life, he played a huge role in many players from Delhi getting an opportunity to represent India.
"There was a time when not many players from Delhi got a chance at the highest level. But under his leadership at the DDCA, many players including me got a chance to represent India."
Meanwhile, Prof Ratnakar Shetty, the former BCCI General Manager (game development), recalled Jaitley being at the BCCI office in Mumbai when current India captain Virat Kohli scored a match-winning century for the National Cricket Academy (NCA) against New Zealand in an Emerging Players tournament held at Brisbane in Australia in July 2008. "Mr Jaitley was so delighted that day and told us that Virat would become a big player for India someday. He was aware how Virat resumed his innings for Delhi (in a Ranji Trophy game against Karnataka in 2006) after spending the night in grief due to his father's death," Shetty told mid-day.
When the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014, Jaitley, according to Shetty decided to move away from cricket to concentrate on matters relating to the nation and the BCCI missed out on his expertise. "In my personal opinion, his advice would have been very useful had he been involved with cricket when the Lodha Committee recommendations came out," said Shetty, agreeing that the administrative state of Indian cricket would have been far less messy than it is now. "The BCCI not interacting with the Lodha Panel is partly responsible for what we are seeing now. We didn't seek interactions with the panel then," said Shetty. Whatever guidance Jaitley provided, was sound, according to Shetty, who revealed that the seasoned politician played a key role in the decision to appoint VR Manohar as the legal expert to fight the Board's battle in the Monkeygate controversy in the Australian summer of 2007-08. "Mr Jaitley also advised us to get Shashank Manohar to head BCCI after the death of Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya. He made an immense contribution to Delhi and Indian cricket," Shetty stressed.
Also Read: BCCI's CK Khanna mourns Arun Jaitley's death
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