Sourav: ‘Conflict of Interest’ Critics Don’t Understand What It Is
Speaking to The Quint, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly responded to allegations of conflict of interest against him.
Speaking exclusively to The Quint, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly answered questions on allegations of conflict of interest against him, clarified what the Board is seeking from the Supreme Court, and responded briefly about his daughter Sana’s controversial social media post on Fascism in India.
The following are excerpts from the interview.
On Alleged ‘Conflicts of Interest’
You’ve spoken up strongly in the past about the issue of conflict of interest. In August (a couple of months before you became Board President), you had come out in defence of Rahul Dravid who had been sent a conflict of interest notice by BCCI. Now, there has been some criticism about you as well, that how can the BCCI President be a brand ambassador for a fantasy cricket league?
Sourav Ganguly: The criticism is because people don’t understand what conflict of interest is. There’s a big problem in India – that even if you don’t understand some of the situations, you put your view in it. If you go through the Supreme Court’s conflict of interest clauses, you’ll understand what conflict of interest is all about.
It should only be for administrators who are actually responsible for making decisions. For others, who are selected or employed, I don't think it should be (an issue). The CoA before finishing their tenure has put forward these issues to the court, and it's not us, the new office-bearers who have done so.
I think the issue of conflict of interest has to be looked at practically because otherwise you won’t get cricketers being involved with the Board in the near future.
‘Seeking Clarifications From SC, Not Amendments’
Why is BCCI seeking the Supreme Court’s nod to amend administrative reforms that had been brought in?
Sourav Ganguly: We have only asked the Supreme Court for clarifications, not amendments. Because it's got to be practical. In other systems, there are similar circumstances which are doing very smoothly. That's why we've asked for these clarifications from the court and requested to make it as practical as possible.
Best Moment so Far as BCCI President?
What has been your best moment as BCCI President so far? Would we be right to assume it was the pink ball day-night test at Eden?
Sourav Ganguly: Yes, it was something new, and we did it immediately as Jay (Shah) and I, and the rest of the team, came in and got the responsibility of looking after the BCCI. So, I did not expect it to be so successful. In due course, we will be doing things which are important for Indian cricket – to make it successful and make it good. Hopefully, we will be able to do that.
‘We Should Make an IPL Hall of Fame’
You’ve also spoken about an IPL Hall of Fame. Tell us more about that.
Sourav Ganguly: You know, there's a cricket Hall of Fame at the international level, where you see the legends and stalwarts who've scored lots and lots of runs, and taken lots of wickets and made a mark at the international level, being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
In the IPL, we want to do that because the IPL has become such a successful and popular brand for Indian cricket that we want to make it as big as anything and I think recognition of performances in the IPL is important, and I think that's why the Hall of Fame will come in, as and when it does.
On Being Beaten at Fantasy Cricket by a 21-Year-Old Boy From Bengal’s Birbhum
Do you reckon fantasy cricket has a promising future in India?
Sourav Ganguly: It’s been picking up a lot over the last two years. I think the understanding of the game is very important. As you saw, Toofan (a 21-year-old boy from Birbhum), he kept beating my team during the 2019 World Cup. It will pick up. You get an opportunity to pick the best and then actually see on the ground whether the person whom you have picked has succeeded or not. And you get rewarded also in that process, so I think it definitely has a future and it will pick up.
There’s also been a big debate for the last several years on whether betting itself should be legalised. Do you think that that is a path that Indian sports and the Indian administration should be taking – towards bringing in steps that ensure safe and legal betting?
Sourav Ganguly: I really don't understand that much, so I don't think I will be able to make a proper comment. I think you should speak to people who actually understand it a bit more than I do.
On Daughter Sana’s Post About Fascism in India
Hours after Sourav Ganguly’s daughter Sana took to Instagram to share an excerpt on the Sangh’s "fascist tendencies" from Khushwant Singh’s book The End of India, the BCCI president tweeted, “Please keep Sana out of all this issues .. this post is not true .. she is too young a girl to know about anything in politics.”
Long before her father’s tweet however, 18-year-old Sana had already deleted the Instastory in question.
You’ve tweeted very strongly about it, saying that she’s too young (she’s 18 years old) to be dragged into politics.
Sourav Ganguly: So that's my opinion, which is on the tweet. So, you stick to that.
But do you feel that...
Sourav Ganguly: As I said, that's my opinion.
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