Sourav Ganguly is only the second Indian cricketer to have headed the BCCI, with the first being Maharaja of Vizianagaram in 1954. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
Sourav Ganguly has been officially appointed as the president of the BCCI. The former India skipper and left-handed batsman is the 39th president of the BCCI and it is the first time in 65 years that a cricketer is taking over as the head of the Indian cricket board. Ganguly, who scored a hundred on debut in the Lord's Test against England in 1996, revived Indian cricket with his aggressive captaincy and helped the side win in England, Australia and Pakistan. In 113 Tests, he smashed 7239 runs while in ODIs, his legendary opening partnership with Sachin Tendulkar broke many records and in his career, he smashed 11363 runs at an average of 41.
The achievements of Ganguly have earned him the nickname of 'Prince of Kolkata' or 'Maharaj'. His attitude and style of play was regal to say the least. With his crowning as BCCI president, one can say that royalty has come back to head the richest cricket board in the world. However, Ganguly is not the first 'royal' person to head the BCCI.
The first royal member to have been appointed as the BCCI president was Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan in 1933. He was the son of the late Nawab Muhammad Hayat Khan and a prominent scion of the Jat Khattar family of Wah, North Punjab. His tenure ended in 1935. The next royal connection to head the BCCI was from Bhopal and he was Nawab Hamidullah Khan in 1935. Before his appointment as BCCI chief, Nawab Hamidullah Khan was the chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University from 1930 to 1935.
After Nawab Hamidullah Khan's tenure ended in 1937, KS Digvijaysinhji who was the Maharaja of Jam Sahib, Nawanagar took over the realms of the Indian cricket board. Digvijaysinhji was the uncle of the famous cricketer Ranjitsinhji after whom the Ranji Trophy is named. After Independence, the BCCI was headed by the Maharajkumar of Vizianagram, popularly known as Vizzy. He became the first cricketer to head the BCCI. In 1936, he had played three Tests on India's tour to England but the tour was remembered for his shoddy treatment of Lala Amarnath.
After Vizzy, royalty continued to be prevalent in the BCCI with Maharaja Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad heading the Indian board from 1963 to 1966. After serving as Vice-President from 1959 to 1960 and again in 1962-63, he was the manager of the Baroda Cricket Association from 1960. He managed the Indian tour of England in 1959 and of Pakistan in 1978-79 and 1982-83. He still holds the record of being the youngest president of BCCI. However, Maharaja Gaekwad is best remembered for still being the youngest president of the BCCI, having taken up the mantle at the age of 33.
The next royal person to head the BCCI was Madhavrao Scindia from 1990 to 1993. Scindia was born to the last ruling Maharaja of Gwalior, Jivajirao Scindia. The last royal connection to head the BCCI was Raj Singh Dungarpur, who was known as Maharaja Raj Singh and was born in the erstwhile princely state of Dungarpur in Rajasthan. Dungarpur played for Rajasthan and Central Zone, appearing in 86 first class cricket matches from 1955 to 1971, taking 206 wickets and he was the president of the BCCI from 1996 to 1999. With the appointment of Ganguly, the royal days are back in the BCCI after 20 years.