Sourav Ganguly is regarded as one of the successful captains of Indian cricket. He was aggressive in the way he handled the team. He did not hesitate to call a spade a spade or take on the mighty Australians. It is said that in a one-day international in Visakhapatnam, he made Steve Waugh wait while going for the toss. The Australian captain was taken aback. Till then it was always felt that only the Aussies could show their aggressiveness. The famous Lord’s act saw Ganguly removing his shirt and waving to the stunned crowd. It was a retaliation of England’s Andrew Flintoff show in a Mumbai match. These were the qualities that made Ganguly stand apart. Of course, his achievements as captain saw India make big strides in world cricket. The stylish left-hander, who was regarded as the ‘God of offside’, brought pro-activeness and spotted talent. He was not afraid of taking bold decisions, including the famous stand-off with Australian coach Greg Chappell. As he takes guard for another innings — as president of one of the richest sports bodies in the world — Ganguly will look to bring in positive changes in the administration. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), of late, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. The 47-year-old will be in the hot seat for the next 10 months only, as per the cooling-off period of the Lodha Committee reforms. His experience as a cricketer and as an administrator will come in handy for the BCCI, which is at a crossroads for various reasons. As president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, he learnt the nuances of administration and introduced some refreshing changes.
Ganguly is not the first player selected for the top assignment of the cricket board. In the 1930s, Vijay Ananda Gajapathi Raju, better known as Maharaja Vizzy, was the president. Hyderabad off-spinner Ghulam Ahmed, who captained the Indian team, had held the secretary post of the BCCI while Sunil Gavaskar was its president for a brief period. Ganguly leads a young and an inexperienced team, which includes secretary Jay Shah (son of Home Minister Amit Shah). His appointment comes at a difficult time when there are talks about the Lodha reforms and the transition phase which the BCCI is going through. He has to set right his priorities — on first-class cricketers and the conflict of interest which he believes is depriving the BCCI of the services of good past players. He has to look into the cold war between the BCCI and the International Cricket Council, particularly on the future tours programme. Many say he has the acumen to deal with these tricky issues.