8 Key Takeaways From Ganguly’s 1st Press Conference as BCCI Chief
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday,23 October, became the first cricketer in 65 years to take charge as full-time BCCI President after Maharaja of Vizianagaram in 1954. Ganguly termed it a matter of 'great honour'.
Ganguly's appointment will, however, be a short one as he will have to go in for a cooling off period from September 2020, under the new rules.
Elected unopposed to the top position in the world's richest cricket Board, the 47-year-old gave enough indications that he would run the show the way he wants and is unlikely to be influenced.
The 47-year-old has already stated that taking care of first-class cricketers and setting the house in order will be among his top priorities during the next few months as the BCCI chief.
Here’s a look at eight takeaways from Sourav Ganguly’s first press conference after taking over as BCCI president on 23 October:
1. ‘No Compromise on Credibility, Corruption Free’
The newly elected BCCI President promised a corruption-free tenure, saying he will run the world's richest cricket body the same way he led the Indian team.
Ganguly couldn't help but recall the time he took over as team captain.
"Coincidentally, fortunately or unfortunately, there was a similar situation when I took over as captain and captained India for six years," Ganguly said referring to what are widely considered to be the dark days of Indian cricket.
"It's a similar sort of a situation where things need to be brought back to place, reforms need to be done, huge amount of money to be paid to state associations so it's a lot of work," he added.
2. ‘Virat is the Most Important Man in Indian Cricket’
Ganguly put his weight firmly behind skipper Virat Kohli, saying Virat Kohli is the most important person in Indian cricket and he will get everything he needs to take the team to the pinaccle of success.
Former India captain Ganguly, who officially took over as the BCCI chief on Wednesday, is slated to meet Kohli on Thursday for Bangladesh T20 series team selection.
“I have been a captain myself and I understand from that position. It's mutual respect that will be there. Opinions will be there; discussions will be there. We will do what is best for the game," he said.
India whitewashed South Africa 3-0 in the just-concluded Test series to consolidate their place at the top of the ICC Test Championship.
3. Till I am Around Everybody Will be Respected: Dada on Dhoni
Talking about the Dhoni and the mystery regarding his retirement, Ganguly has made it clear he doesn't know what is in Dhoni's mind but promised that a player of his stature will be given respect.
"Till I am around, everybody will be respected and that doesn't change," Ganguly said.
Dhoni has been on a sabbatical from international cricket since India's semi-final exit in the ODI World Cup, leading to speculations about his future.
"I am yet to talk to him. I will have a word soon with one of the greats of the Indian game,” said Ganguly.
4. ‘Have to Talk With Virat Regarding Test Venues’
After Kohli strongly rooted for having fewer, stronger Test centres in India, the newly-elected BCCI chief was non-committal on the matter.
As for the low fan turnout during Test matches, Ganguly said it is the format that needs some rediscovering.
"The same fans turn out for the IPL, where the stadiums are choc-a-bloc. So, it's a bit more than stadiums. Test cricket needs a revisit and how it can be popularises. Eden Gardens is going to host Bangladesh on 22 November and we don't know what's going to happen in that Test match," he said.
"But you see an IPL game, people go (crazy). It's the same stadium, same facilities. People come in huge numbers. The problem is somewhere else, at the same time the infrastructure has to be there,” Ganguly added.
5. ‘Will Make Sure First-Class Cricketers Are Looked After’
Ganguly reiterated that domestic cricket and first-class cricketers will be the priority for the newly appointed Apex council of the BCCI.
“The structures are there, the tournaments are there. We have to make sure the best tournament in the country is competitive, and it remains important to everyone now because that's where you get the Kohlis and MS Dhonis, Ajinkya Rahanes and Rohit Sharmas of Indian cricket," he said.
The former Indian captain stressed on the fact that ‘the players should be at ease to play the game.”
"We are here to make the lives of the cricketers easier and not more difficult. Everything will be decided on the basis of performance," said Ganguly.
6. Conflict of Interest Still An Issue
Ganguly acknowledged that the Conflict of Interest issue is still there.
"Conflict is still an issue. CoA status report has addressed the issue. Still don't know when it will be solved and heard. We have to create the CAC. They will appoint a lot of selectors and others which are important part of Indian cricket so. We will make sure they don't have any conflict of interest," he said.
Ganguly was recently caught in the conflict of interest turmoil that has plagued the game and was asked to explain his multiple roles – CAB President and Delhi IPL franchise mentor – by the Board's Ethics Officer.
7. ‘BCCI Supposed To Get $372 Mn From ICC’
The relationship with the International Cricket Council will also be in focus during his tenure and Ganguly said he was confident of getting India its due.
"India is to get USD 372 million from the ICC in the five-year cycle. Till now we have got whatever it is and we will make sure we get our due. We will work with the ICC and take this forward," he said.
8. The Status of Bangladesh Tour?
Sourav Ganguly continued to be optimistic about Bangladesh's tour of India and expected that it will go ahead as planned as their Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has "given her consent".
The upcoming tour was on Monday thrown into jeopardy after their national team players refused to participate in any cricketing activity until their demands, including a hike in salary, are met.
However, Ganguly has maintained that Bangladesh will turn up for the tour starting 3 November.