A new era is all set to begin in the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Sourav Ganguly, one of the best batsmen and captain India has had, is all set to be elected unopposed as the president of the BCCI. Finally, a cricketer will head the richest cricketing board in the world. Ganguly's appointment and the presence of new faces in Jay Shah, Arun Kumar Dhumal, Brijesh Patel, Mohammad Azharuddin officially brings to an end the 33-month tenure of the Committee of Administrators, which was appointed by the Supreme Court to oversee the functionings of the Board.
Vinod Rai, Diana Eduljee and Lt Gen (Retd) Ravi Thodge will be handing over the reigns to Ganguly. The CoA was set-up following the guidelines of the Justice RM Lodha Panel set up by the Supreme Court in the wake of the IPL spot-fixing scandal in 2013. In addition to banning Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for two years, the Lodha Panel set guidelines of age and tenure cap, one state one vote and other key recommendations that sought to bring accountability in the Indian cricket board.
However, Ganguly comes at a time when there is plenty of work needed to be done regarding First Class cricket, India's stature in world cricket, Pink Ball cricket and arresting the sparse attendaces which were visible during the series between India and South Africa. Ganguly will also face the challenge of having quality cricketers on board as far as the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) and national selection committee are concerned. The issue of Conflict of Interest, that plagued many former players including Rahul Dravid, will also be a key agenda during his tenure.
Day-Night Tests On The Agenda?
Ganguly has said that he is keen on India playing Day-Night Tests and that has been viewed as one of the solutions to arrest the low attendances in the recent Tests against South Africa. However, Virat Kohli's statement on keeping Tests in five strong venues might be considered a very important agenda for Ganguly.
"In my opinion, we should have 5 strong Test centres. In Test cricket, teams coming into India should know that they are going to play at these 5 centres, these are the pitches and crowds to expect. It can't be sporadic and spread over so many places. I agree that you have state associations, rotation and giving games and all that. That is fine in T20 and ODI cricket, but for Test cricket teams coming into India should know we are going to play at these five centres," Kohli had said after the win in Ranchi.
Looking After First Class Cricketers
However, before taking over as BCCI President, Ganguly had said looking after First Class cricketers is his prime priority. Ganguly had said that the CoA did not listen to him and it is time that he corrects this anomaly. "My first priority will be to look after first class cricketers. I had requested to the CoA and they have not listened. Ranji Trophy cricket will be the focus. To take care of cricketers' financial interest," Ganguly said.
Getting India's Clout Back In World Cricket
Ganguly's appointment comes in the backdrop of the ICC's proposed Futures Tours Programme (FTP) which could significantly hit Indian cricket board's revenue stream. The new proposal calls for World T20 every year and 50-over World Cup every three years, which is being perceived as ICC's plan to enter the global media rights markets for the 2023-2028 period before BCCI and exhaust the lion's share of revenues from potential broadcasters such as Star Sports.
Ganguly outlined his vision very clearly that India's standing in global cricket had taken a hit in the last couple of years. "That's one area, we will have to take care of, because in the last 3-4 years, we have not received the kind of money that we deserve. India generates 75-80 per cent of the global cricket revenue, so that is going to be one of the big agendas. Talks and discussions need to happen and we need to find a solution as it is not leading anywhere," Ganguly said.
All eyes will be on the agenda Ganguly sets out after the end of the AGM in Mumbai and that how he will implement in his nine-month tenure.