Time for Sourav Ganguly-Shashank Manohar grudge match

Global cricket is a lopsided market—Indian companies and the Indian market generate more revenue than almost all the other cricket playing nations put together.

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As Sourav Ganguly prepares to take over as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), he will find himself with plenty of battles to fight. One such possible skirmish may see him pitted against an old adversary— International Cricket Council (ICC) chief Shashank Manohar.

Global cricket is a lopsided market—Indian companies and the Indian market generate more revenue than almost all the other cricket playing nations put together.

The ICC is always trying to curb the influence that money brings. It is inevitable that the two cricket bodies are often at odds. This time, the ICC, always trying to boost revenue, and have proposed holding a World Cup every year. The BCCI has opposed it.

Led by powerful administrators, BCCI has always had the upper hand. Sourav Ganguly, however, takes over at a time when the tide has changed heavily in favor of ICC, which has introduced many measures to ensure BCCI doesn’t dictate terms in the ICC boardroom.

Ganguly and Manohar’s paths crossed before the 2004 Nagpur Test against Australia when Ganguly, then the India captain, asked for a spin-friendly wicket. India were trailing 0-1 after two matches. But Manohar, the Vidarbha association president then, backed his curator to layout a green top. The surface played into Australia’s hands and they won to go 2-0 up, achieving their “Final Frontier” by claiming their first series in India in 34 years. Ganguly had pulled out of the match due to an injury, and Rahul Dravid led in the game.

It came amidst an intense power tussle in the BCCI with the Manohar-Sharad Pawar-Raj Singh Dungarpur-IS Bindra camp pitted against Jagmohan Dalmiya, the then BCCI president. There was speculation Ganguly didn’t have his way because the venue belonged to the anti-Dalmiya camp.

Now, those battle lines have been drawn again. Many senior cricket figures in India are opposed to Manohar for his decision to resign as BCCI president and join ICC. The Board members had brought Shashank back as BCCI President with an overwhelming majority, going against N Srinivasan. They see it as abandoning the cause of the Board members who were looking up to his leadership in their resistance to the Lodha reforms.

Manohar became the first independent ICC chairman, and to his luck has found it easy to deal with the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators till now. When Ganguly’s team takes over on October 23, things are bound to change.

Led by powerful administrators, BCCI has always had the upper hand. Sourav Ganguly, however, takes over at a time when the tide has changed heavily in favor of ICC, which has introduced many measures to ensure BCCI doesn’t dictate terms in the ICC boardroom.

Ganguly and Manohar’s paths crossed before the 2004 Nagpur Test against Australia when Ganguly, then the India captain, asked for a spin-friendly wicket. India were trailing 0-1 after two matches. But Manohar, the Vidarbha association president then, backed his curator to layout a green top. The surface played into Australia’s hands and they won to go 2-0 up, achieving their “Final Frontier” by claiming their first series in India in 34 years. Ganguly had pulled out of the match due to an injury, and Rahul Dravid led in the game.

It came amidst an intense power tussle in the BCCI with the Manohar-Sharad Pawar-Raj Singh Dungarpur-IS Bindra camp pitted against Jagmohan Dalmiya, the then BCCI president. There was speculation Ganguly didn’t have his way because the venue belonged to the anti-Dalmiya camp.

Now, those battle lines have been drawn again. Many senior cricket figures in India are opposed to Manohar for his decision to resign as BCCI president and join ICC. The Board members had brought Shashank back as BCCI President with an overwhelming majority, going against N Srinivasan. They see it as abandoning the cause of the Board members who were looking up to his leadership in their resistance to the Lodha reforms.

Manohar became the first independent ICC chairman, and to his luck has found it easy to deal with the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators till now. When Ganguly’s team takes over on October 23, things are bound to change.

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