Himachal Pradesh right-hand batsman Anurag Singh Thakur hung up his boots on the final nail that the Supreme Court hit on Monday. Thakur, 42, played one first-class game in his illustrious cricketing career in which he scored naught in seven balls and picked two wickets in his team’s losing cause against Jammu and Kashmir in 2000. He will, however, be remembered for his run up exactly after his debut.
Using his cricketing debut to make an entry into the National Junior Selection committee as a member, Thakur learnt the techniques of sporting politics very early. At 25, the son of the former Himachal CM took over the state’s cricket association (HPCA) and began to dream of wearing the glorious BCCI colours on his chest. He honed his skills of coming down the track to opposing camps, rock-solid defence and dodging the beamers of controversy under stalwarts such as former BCCI vice-president Arun Jaitley.
But it was BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya who really brought the best of Thakur’s talents in his reign from 2001 to 2004. Getting to know Dalmiya’s soft hands and iron fist firsthand, Thakur became a smooth operator, especially when he was pushed up the batting order in crunch situations. His temperament for the sport became apparent when he added power to his shots by being the chief of BJP’s youth wing and winning Lok Sabha elections from his state’s Hamirpur constituency in 2008 and 2014.
In Chennai 2015, Thakur proved his mettle as finisher as he beat incumbent secretary Sanjay Patel in a thrilling game by a single vote. Breaking into BCCI’s administrative set-up as secretary, Thakur then showed his hunger for the longer format of the game. He left all moving deliveries about N Srinivasan’s murky IPL deals and focused on his game, in a partnership with Jagmohan Dalmiya.
Some of Thakur’s finest innings resulted in the picturesque HPCA stadium in Dharamsala hosting IPL and international games but more importantly, being the new power centre of Indian cricket. After Dalmiya’s run-out in September 2015, he was elected unopposed as BCCI President, a post any budding politician dreams of attaining. By being the youngest president of the Board, Thakur proved that with hard work, perseverance and great political power, nothing is impossible. By attaching himself to the Sikh regiment of the Indian Territorial Army last year, he also reinforced that his strike rate wasn't a fluke.
Last October, when he could not duck moving deliveries and bouncers from Team Lodha Committee in an intense series at home, Thakur used his experience and finesse by stepping out and shooting a barrage of tweets about BCCI’s reforms with him as office bearer. The cameo innings was to be one of his last, as going out of line to hit Lodha did not help his eventual ouster.
Thakur’s premature expulsion is a landmark for Indian cricket as he is hoped to be the last administrator from an era which had stalwarts such as N Srinivasan and Sharad Pawar. For now though, the snow has frozen over Dharamsala again.
Updated Date: Jan 02, 2017 18:33 PM