Is Ganguly going to be just a figurehead?

A look at the BCCI’s latest appointments shows several figureheads. Is the former India skipper going to get caught up in the politics at play.

Ashish Magotra September 19, 2011 21:59:09 IST
Is Ganguly going to be just a figurehead?

The new Board of Control for Cricket in India president, N Srinivasan, said a lot of things in his first address to the media at the Board headquarters in the Wankhede Stadium. But nothing he said generated as much interest as his intention to approach Sourav Ganguly and ask him to become head of the technical committee.

“Mr Gavaskar has written to us that he has been on the technical committee for seven years and it's time that we search for a fresh face. It is our intention to appoint Sourav Ganguly as the chairman of the technical committee. We haven't yet been able to contact him but hopefully he will give his consent,” Srinivasan told reporters.

Is Ganguly going to be just a figurehead

Ganguly was one of the most respected Indian skippers. He is articulate and knows how to get his point across. Reuters

Even on twitter, it was this particular act that generated the most enthusiasm. And it isn’t hard to see why – in his prime, Ganguly was one of the most respected Indian skippers. He is articulate, knows how to get his point across and even though he is not always diplomatic, he gets the job done.

Most of what is true of Ganguly is also true of  Sunil Gavaskar. The former Indian opening batsman comes across as a well read individual, who is smart and in his prime was a legend of Indian cricket. He also wasn’t always diplomatic but more often than not, he managed to get the job done. There were times when he stood alone in the line of enemy fire and didn’t bat an eyelid.

For the past seven years, Gavaskar was head of the BCCI’s technical committee. In that time, one wonders what really has changed about India cricket and how will the appointment of Ganguly change anything?

And when the BCCI talks about someone new, are we supposed to take him at face value alone?

The technical committee is supposed to make recommendations to the BCCI’s Working Committee on how to improve the quality of cricket in India. Now, these recommendations can be across various aspects of the game – pitches, schedules, faulty actions, stadiums, player injury management – the whole hog, literally. But at the end of the day, there is a vital flaw – the committee can only make recommendations – the final decision still rests with the Working Committee.

And here is the clincher. Over the last year, the committee met just once. In such a situation, the decision to ask Ganguly to take over as head of the committee means nothing. Will he manage to get around the system?

A famous or should we say infamous story concerning these committees comes out of the Seventies. A Cricket Improvement Committee was formed with several former Test captains. It was headed by the late Fathesinhrao Gaekwad.

When none of their recommendations were implemented by the Working Committee, Gaekwad was bold enough to ask why. In return, one Working Committee member promptly proposed the committee itself be dissolved and the motion was seconded by another member. This was BCCI politics at its very best.

Ganguly will need to be bold as well. He will need to ask the tough questions and get the good work done. But will he be able to do that?

A look at the BCCI’s latest appointments shows several figureheads – Sanjay Jagdale is a nice man but will he ever be able to stand up to Srinivasan? Vilasrao Deshmukh, Union Minister for Heavy Industries, will head the Media Committee but will he have time for the post? Same can be said for the likes of Jyotiraditya Scindia, who will head the Finance Committee.

The BCCI’s committee’s have around 150 different members – make that 132 if you take into account the number of people who are part of multiple committees.

But it's cricketers, not committees that win matches. Unless these committees actually do some work, we would probably see a repeat of the England tour when we tour Australia and it won’t matter whether Ganguly or Gavaskar is at the head of any committee.

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