Game of Thrones has got nothing on the power struggles and the politics of the BCCI.
The Indian cricket board is no stranger to controversies and political wrangling, but the recent scuffles with the Supreme Court have weakened the board’s position as the ‘One True King’ of cricket governing bodies.
So much so that President Shashank Manohar tendered his resignation on Tuesday, barely seven months into his reign.
NEWS ALERT: Mr. Shashank Manohar resigns as BCCI President pic.twitter.com/MiWYpuLiwu— BCCI (@BCCI) May 10, 2016
Speaking to the Times of India about his decision, he said:
“If you recall, I was not very keen to return to the BCCI for a second stint. After Jagmohan Dalmiya’s sudden demise, when board members requested that I lead the BCCI again, I agreed because I felt it was time for me to give back something to the institution that serves Indian cricket.”
“After taking over as the BCCI president for the second time (in October) I did my best and brought in major changes in the organisation. I feel certain portions of the Lodha panel’s recommendations are not in the interests of the board. There is very little I can do in the current scenario.”
“My conscience no longer permits me to continue.”
It might be fair to say the past year has been the absolute worst for BCCI. Almost as bad as the Lannisters’ time at King’s Landing.
Their stronghold on the game in the country has been questioned severely by Justice Lodha and his committee, out on a mission to clean up cricket. Much like the Faith Militants, if you will.
The committee’s recommendations, while largely in good interests of cricket, were not too well received by the board — especially the ones pertaining to restricting airing of commercials during live telecast, and restricting the voting rights for states which have more than one vote currently with their ‘one state, one vote’ policy.
The SC tells BCCI to fix it’s mess, the BCCI goes back and says, ‘no can do!’. The SC says, ‘you know nothing!’ about cleaning cricket up, the BCCI still says they can’t implement the Lodha recommendations in its entirety.
And at this critical juncture, Manohar, who was appointed as the consensus candidate after the demise of former President Jagmohan Dalmiya, decided he has had enough.
For his part, over his brief tenure, Manohar did bring in some sweeping reforms to the way the board functions.
He appointed a former high court judge as an independent authority who will deal with any and all complaints within the board — Ombudsman, as he was called. He made it a point to put up players’ salaries in the IPL along with many other board expenditure as part of the ‘Go Transparent’ plan. He brought in a CEO to the board for the first-time ever. And perhaps, more importantly, he broke the ‘Big Three’ structure in ICC wherein he basically said India, Australia and England can’t be bullies in the world of cricket anymore and the revenue will be shared.
Which brings us to the other reason for Manohar’s resignation. As miffed as he sounds with BCCI’s current state, he is in line to become the ICC Chairman for the next five years, which requires him to resign the position of BCCI President.
Five years of heading the world cricket’s governing body compared to fighting fires in the BCCI? An easy choice, if you think about it.
Everyone in the BCCI is not happy about this.
“The BCCI is under pressure at the moment and it needs a strong leadership. Leaving his colleagues in the lurch, is not good leadership,” an official is quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
The whole world knows how powerful the BCCI president’s post is, in the global context. Why would I quit a post if I had been angling for it? I could have continued to be the BCCI president as well as ICC chairman and not pushed for a change in the global body to have an independent head.
Indications are that, his resignation is not really much of a surprise to the powers that be at the BCCI and they were unhappy with his functioning too, seeing as he built his credentials up for the ICC post with his tenure at BCCI.
Where that leaves the board in terms of who will succeed and the potential cold war scenario between Manohar’s ICC and the BCCI will make for some fascinating viewing.
So bring the popcorn! BCCI’s very own Song of Ice and Fire is gearing up for another long winter.