India news July 12, 2012

Former BCCI president PM Rungta dies

ESPNcricinfo staff

PM Rungta, a former BCCI president and head of the Rajasthan Cricket Association, has died at the age of 84 at his residence in Mumbai. Rungta had been ill for a while and had been recently operated on. He had served as BCCI president from 1972-73 to 1974-75.

"Mr. Rungta was an individual who lived and breathed cricket," N Srinivasan, the BCCI president, said. "He served the BCCI with distinction as its president, and was an invaluable guide in later years. He will always be missed."

Rungta, who was nickname was "Bhaiji" (big brother), was "crazy for cricket", according to former India captain Ajit Wadekar, whose career overlapped with Rungta's time as board president. Wadekar said Rungta was very accessible to the players while he was playing. "We could approach him directly and not have to go through the proper channels," Wadekar said. "He would take decisions on his own."

Back then the board was not the financial powerhouse it is now, and the players often had to rely on the largesse of individual board members for uniforms and equipment. "He [Rungta] used to spend from his own pocket quite a lot - clothing and other things like caps and ties," Wadekar said. Rungta also used to host a farewell party for the players at his house in Mumbai before every overseas tour.

Rungta was also on the BCCI's disciplinary committee that banned six players, including Dilip Vengsarkar, Kapil Dev and Ravi Shastri, for a year for playing friendly matches in the United States and Canada after a poor tour of the West Indies in 1989. That decision led to the players challenging the board in court for the first time, a battle they ultimately won. After facing criticism from all quarters, including the Supreme Court, the board relented and withdrew the ban.

Rungta's brother, Kishan, is a former first-class cricketer and chairman of the national selection panel, while his son Kishore is a former treasurer of the BCCI.