Losing ground

Updated: Jan 1 2006, 05:30am hrs
Former BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya loves to be in the eye of the storm. Good or bad, he is always there when it comes to cricket controversies. Fans have argued that he was not there when the game needed him the most. But he was there to protect Sourav Ganguly against the decision to drop him from the Indian team. Dalmiya is known to have argued that he could not understand Gangulys removal, especially after his batting in both the innings in the Delhi test. Dalmiya said, If Ganguly has played, he has played on merit. He became Indian captain on merit. He will also make a comeback on merit.

Interestingly, in an article posted on the Punjab Cricket Associations website, IS Bindra had accused that Dalmiya was the mastermind behind Gangulys removal from the team for his own political survival. Dalmiya has denied the accusation and said that he has never influenced any selector to include or remove any player from the Indian team.

Levelling a counter-charge, Dalmiya said, It was because of a leak by Bindra that one of our icons was put to such humilation. The entire country was put to shame. Dalmiya was referring to the match-fixing controversy of 2000 when Bindra had quoted Manoj Prabhakar as having told him that Kapil Dev had asked him to play fixed matches in Sri Lanka.

If BCCI happens to be the richest cricket board in the world, most cricket fans attribute this feat to Dalmia. No one questions his dedication and tenacity to bring results to the Indian cricket team. BCCI is the best run sports body in India. It is because of BCCI, the standing of national cricketers and financial position of state level players has improved financially.

Dalmiya has also motivated the august body to look towards the games saleable prospect making each state branch and BCCI financially viable to promote the game at the grassroot level. BCCI also needs to move away from government control. Government intervention is important, but in a democratic way.

Experts agree that the BCCI needs a corporate structure headed by a CEO. Many feel that Dalmiya is best for the job.

But at the same time, most feel that Dalmiya should have been proactive and moved out of cricket on his own. He should have allowed Sharad Pawat to become the president of the BCCI. Had this happened, he would have been a national hero.