Widely credited for making BCCI the world’s richest Cricket Board, life has come full circle for veteran administrator Jagmohan Dalmiya, who returned to the top post after being forced out of the body close to a decade back.
Expelled from the position in 2006, the 74-year-old was today elected BCCI president in the Board’s much-delayed 85th Annual General Meeting after Sharad Pawar pulled out of race failing to get a proposer from the East Zone.
Dubbed the ‘Asian Tiger’ and master of the board game, who practically held all cricketing administrative positions after starting off as a treasurer in the Cricket Association of Bengal in 1978, Dalmiya went on to be the ICC President in March 1997 before leading BCCI from 2001-2004 before December 2006 ended his reign.
Accused of misappropriation of funds and a refusal to provide the relevant accounts and documents pertaining to a few cases, Dalmiya was expelled from the Indian board in a meeting in Jaipur
An opening batsman and wicketkeeper during his early days, Dalmiya did not give up as he challenged the charges in the Bombay High Court and then at the Supreme Court of India.
Finally he heaved a sigh of relief in July 2007, when the Calcutta High Court dismissed the charges against him. He was exonerated as the BCCI was unable to prove their charge of financial irregularities against him.
After being allowed by the High Court to contest for the presidency of the Cricket Association of Bengal, Dalmiya silently made his return and has held the post with little challenge.
His equation with the Board has changed ever since as many have now termed him N Srinivasan ‘loyalist’.
His moment of reckoning came in June, 2013 in the aftermath of IPL spot-fixing scandal when he was appointed the interim President after Srinivasan stepped aside due to conflict of interest in owning Chennai Super Kings franchise.
Many had termed it an aberration as age was definitely not on his side as the astute septuagenarian quietly made his way into the top brass of BCCI fully aware of his credibility and image.
As it turned out, Dalmiya who had two crucial East Zone votes — CAB and the National Cricket Club — became the unanimous choice, this time as a fulltime BCCI president.
Born on May 30, 1940 to a Marwari business family that had migrated from Bhiwani, Rajasthan, Dalmiya studied in the Scottish Church College.
As an opening batsman and wicketkeeper, Dalmiya represented Jorabagan Club (1957-60), Rajasthan Club (60-62) and National Athletic Club (63-78).
In 1963, he entered cricket administration by becoming Rajasthan Club secretary and his stint with the CAB began in 1978 when then secretary Biswanath Dutt appointed him treasurer. He was elevated to CAB joint secretary and then to the top post in 1993.
Dalmiya has not looked back since then.
He has held the CAB top post since 1993 barring a 19-month hiatus after his expulsion from Sharad Pawar-led BCCI following the fund embezzlement charges in December 2006.
Jagmohan Dalmiya’s foray into BCCI was also being a treasurer under then president NKP Salve in 1983.
Instrumental in bringing the 1987 World Cup to India and Pakistan, Dalmiya was appointed the tournament organising secretary in the quadrennial extravaganza that had for the first time moved outside England.
Dalmiya juggernaut rolled on as he was elevated to BCCI Secretary with I S Bindra in 1990 and in the following year, he got another feather in his cap by becoming the Asian Cricket Council Secretary.
He was again credited for bringing the 1996 World Cup which was almost certain to go to England but the cricketing czar stitched together his subcontinental alliance following a 13-and-a-half-hour debate to turn the table.
The BCCI’s accounts which had showed a deficit of Rs 81.60 lakh when Dalmiya became its secretary in the early 1990s, recorded a profit within a year making it the world’s richest with a turnover of more than Rs 100 crore.
Under his management, the World Cup made record profit of 26 million pounds that prompted the BBC to declares Dalmiya one of world’s top six sports executives.
Less than a year after he was blocked from ICC president’s post despite winning 25-13 on the ground that he did not have the backing of two-thirds majority among the nine Test playing nations, Dalmiya was elected to the top most post unanimously in March 1997.
He also held the BCCI president post from 2001-04.
Like his rise his fall too became imminent after losing to the Pawar camp in the the 2005 Board elections and the next year he was expelled from the Board for alleged misappropriation of funds and refusing to provide certain documents.
Dalmiya, however, slowly rebuilt his image to make his way up to the position which was once synonymous with him.