A new era is all set to begin in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) with Sourav Ganguly, the former India cricket team skipper all set to become the new president of the BCCI. In a dramatic turn of events on Sunday, Ganguly pipped front-runner Brajesh Patel and it is expected that Ganguly will be the only presidential candidate. Ganguly will replace CK Khanna, who has been the president since 2017. While there is plenty of joy that finally the BCCI will be run by a cricketer, the fine print is that Ganguly's tenure will last for only nine months.
Yes, Ganguly will be at the helm of the BCCI for only nine months due to the rules and recommendations set out by the Supreme Court appointed Justice RM Lodha Panel. Ganguly has been the President of the Cricket Association of Bengal ever since 2015 following the death of Jagmohan Dalmiya. Following the Lodha Panel which was set up in the wake of the IPL spot-fixing scandal, there were rules formulated regarding age, tenure and conflict of interest.
In the initial draft regarding the cooling off period, the Lodha Committee had recommended that an office-bearer could remain in chair for a maximum of nine years each in the BCCI and in any one of its affiliates, with each three-year term being interspersed by a three-year cooling-off break. The cooling off period, as per the judgment, read: “An office bearer who has held any post for two consecutive terms either in a state association or in the BCCI (or a combination of both) shall not be eligible to contest any further election without completing a cooling off period of three years. During the cooling off period, such an office bearer shall not be a member of the governing council or of any committee whatsoever of the BCCI or of a state association."
If Ganguly had to go by the initial draft, he would have not even been eligible for BCCI presidency. However, after massive opposition from the state units of the BCCI, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra modified the initial draft and stated that instead of a three-year cooling off period after every term, the stipulation will kick in after two consecutive terms. The bench directed the BCCI and the state associations to adopt the new Constitution in letter and spirit.
Since Ganguly has been at the helm of the Cricket Association of Bengal for two consecutive terms, having held the position of the joint-secretary in 2014 and also elected unopposed to the CAB again in September 2017, Ganguly can be at the helm only for nine months. After this, Ganguly cannot even become a member of any committee, governing council of either the BCCI or the state association.
One hopes that Ganguly can change the landscape of the BCCI and also of Indian cricket like he did during his captaincy tenure which made India into world beaters.