Indian cricket’s greatest administrator was a man of vision
“I was surprised when it was declared that N. Srinivasan will represent the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in an International Cricket Council (ICC) Board Meeting in Barbados held from June 24 to June 26 this year. I asked myself, how a person barred from becoming BCCI President was eligible to represent BCCI in an ICC meeting ?
It was earlier in the month of March when Jagmohan Dalmiya was elected as the BCCI president that too after a gap of 10 years and ideally should have represented the BCCI at the ICC Board Meeting in Barbados. Later, it came to light that Kolkata-based Chief of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Jagmohan Dalmiya was having some health issues. His deteriorating health could be seen during a prize distribution ceremony held post an IPL-8 match in Mumbai when he struggled to stand on his feet for the entire time.
Also, Dalmiya executed his Marwari skills at the world stage with his amazing business sense and promoted the sport superbly. He was responsible to make players start believing that they could take cricket as a professional sport and they will be backed by the BCCI. It all started in early 90’s when he secured a lucrative television rights deal with World Tel. Since then, BCCI has not looked back and strengthen its roots at a global level.
It was only Dalmiya who had courage to challenge the supremacy of England in cricket and played an important role in securing rights for India to host the Reliance World Cup in India in 1987. It was for the first time when a mega event like the World Cup was held outside England. He was a cricket administrator with a vision and took cricket to another level. He was never afraid of taking bold decisions for interest of the game which also later effected his position, not only at the BCCI level but at the state association level. There came a time when cricket big-wigs like Sharad Pawar, N Srinnivasan, Shashank Manohar and Lalit Modi, sidelined Dalmiya from BCCI and tried to implicate him in cases. Known for his hard-work, Dalmiya emerged as a winner in these cases and staged a great comeback within the cricket circles.
Not many cricket fans know that Dalmiya was one person who was against the idea of starting a T-20 cricket domestic league model (Indian Premier League). He never supported Lalit Modi-backed IPL and thought such a format could damage cricket and also distract a cricketer. He felt that a cricketer should have a killing aspiration to represent India and not a franchise.
He once said, “My dream is to see England play China at the Lords Cricket ground. That day we can say that cricket is a global game.”
This might still take some more years but I am sure when this will happen, Dalmiya Sir will be watching this from heaven with smile on his face.
Abhishek Shekhawat - Sep 21, 2015