CHENNAI: For the past couple of days, speculation has been rife in BCCI circles regarding the future of president Shashank Manohar. Ever since he left for an ICC meeting in Dubai and came back, whispers have been getting louder that Manohar might step down as BCCI president in June to become ICC chairman. Such news usually excites aspirants and names start doing the rounds.
But then, trust the BCCI and its members to spring surprise elements! Though nobody has confirmation from Manohar on this front, many believe the board might have a fourth president in two years, something which has never happened in its 88-year history. But that isn’t the surprise. Candidates known to have an eye on the high-profile job don’t seem to be keen on it at the moment. Not because they expect Manohar to continue. They think this is not the right time.
That the BCCI is facing plenty of heat in the Supreme Court on implementing the Lodha Panel recommendations seems to be acting as a deterrent. From the current set of office-bearers, secretary Anurag Thakur is eligible for the top post. But with the Panel asking for politicians to be kept out, it remains to be seen if the BJP MP throws his hat in the ring. The situation is similar for IPL chief Rajeev Shukla, whose name invariably pops up during BCCI reshuffles. Whoever takes up the job, might soon be in a position where they have to face the embarrassment of running a different show, if the Supreme Court insists on implementing the recommendations.
“There are lots of factors to consider in a situation like this. When Jagmohan Dalmiya passed away, not many were keen on taking up the post. Now, the situation has got worse and who would like to come in at such a time and clear the mess? It’s a huge, huge ask for anybody to come in and take the responsibility,” said a board member.
Is Ganguly Ready?
But one member could emerge lucky out of this. Though it is early, one understands that if Ajay Shirke — whose name is emerging as a possible successor to Manohar — doesn’t show interest, Sourav Ganguly might become the frontrunner to become president. If the former India captain takes charge, it might also lift the BCCI in the eyes of the apex court, as it would send a signal that the board is willing to be run by a former cricketer, as suggested by the Lodha Panel.
Ganguly took charge of Cricket Association of Bengal last October and though many members reckon he is too young for the post, circumstances might not give them much of a choice. Watch out for more.
Shirke Sticks to ‘No’ Stand
Chennai: The person speculated to be Shashank Manohar’s successor as BCCI president has reiterated there’s no substance in such talk. “There’s no news of Manohar quitting or me taking over. Can’t say why this is being discussed,” Ajay Shirke told Express from Pune. The Maharashtra Cricket Association president added there has been no communication between him and Manohar. “Even though he’s in Pune (on personal work), we haven’t met. Nor have we spoken.” An East Zone unit head said he wouldn’t be surprised if Manohar quits and picked Shirke among possible replacements.