Sourav Ganguly, the newly-elected president of the BCCI, addressing his first media conference since taking over, said his target will be to guide Indian cricket corruption-free.
Ganguly, drawing parallels between his appointment as BCCI president and when he was given captaincy of the Indian cricket team back in the year 2000 – when the nation was hit by a match-fixing scandal – stressed on the need to ensure corruption-free performance of the cricket board.
“It is an honour to have been asked to take over, when it is a new start for the BCCI. It’s a new start, a similar situation to when I took over India’s captaincy,” Ganguly said. “I’ll do it the way I know, with no compromise on credibility and corruption. That’s the way I led India. Things need to be brought back in place, reforms need to be done, huge amounts of money need to be paid to state associations.”
One of Ganguly’s foremost priorities is to chalk out a plan with India captain Virat Kohli for the road ahead. Calling Kohli the most important man in Indian cricket, Ganguly said under him the board will do everything in its capacity to ensure the Indian captain is heard properly.
“Virat Kohli is the most important man in Indian cricket, we will listen to him. Mutual respect will be there, opinions will be there. I will speak to Virat Kohli tomorrow, we will support him in every possible way, whatever he wants,” Ganguly added.
The future of MS Dhoni remained high on Ganguly’s agenda. Dhoni has been on a sabbatical since India’s World Cup exit in July and although Ganguly revealed he was yet to have a word with the two-time World Cup winning captain, the new BCCI chief is certain of the 38-year-old not finishing just yet.
“[I] Have not met yet. When I meet him then only next course of action will be taken,” Ganguly said. “Champions don’t finish very quickly. “I don’t know what is in his mind. India is proud to have Dhoni. If we sit down and take a note of his records, it is huge. Till I am around everybody will be respected. That doesn’t change.”
Last week, when Ganguly filed his nomination at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai, remarked that Indian cricket had not been generating revenue it deserved from the ICC. On Wednesday, after being officially appointed as the 39th BCCI chief, Ganguly ensured he weighed in on the issue.
“The ICC matter should be clear to everybody – we are to get USD 372m from ICC in 5 year cycle and we will get our due,” Ganguly said.
Over the years, the Ranji Trophy is believed to have lost its sheen, although Ganguly promised the best methods will be undertaken to ensure the longevity of India’s biggest domestic tournament.
“The First-Class cricketers in India will be taken care of,” he said. “We will have to make sure the best tournament in the country (Ranji Trophy) is competitive. That is were we get the Dhoni(s), Kohli(s), Rahane(s) and Rohit Sharma(s) of Indian cricket.”
Following India’s win in the third Test in Ranchi against South Africa, Kohli suggested the format to be limited to just five centres in the country. The India captain suggested to ensure the popularity of Test cricket, a topic that Ganguly also touched upon, while re-iterating that implementing too many changes can lead to a negative effect.
Test cricket needs revisit, how it can be done, how it can be popularized. Too many changes for the game is not good. At times it becomes difficult for people to understand the game,” he added.
Ganguly also sounded positive about the Bangladesh’s tour of India going ahead as planned. Bangladesh is scheduled to play three T20Is and two Tests starting November but with their cricketers going on strike on Monday, the tour remains under jeopardy. The players want the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) to address their 11-point demands which include a 50 percent pay hike for first-class cricketers, expansion of national contracts, rise in match fees for domestic matches and improved benefits for the groundskeepers among others.
“It’s their internal matter. (But) the Bangladesh PM has said she will turn up for the Test in Kolkata. If she has given her consent, I don’t see how the national team won’t,” Ganguly said.