India news June 4, 2013

Options dwindle for top BCCI posts

A day after taking charge of the BCCI's day-to-day affairs, Jagmohan Dalmiya is yet to fill up the key posts of board secretary and treasurer. The sticking point, it appears, is the lack of suitable candidates, with the possible replacements either occupied with their primary roles in and outside the game or wary of accepting a temporary, high-stakes position.

Both Sanjay Jagdale and Ajay Shirke, who resigned as the BCCI secretary and treasurer last week, had conveyed their inability to reconsider their decision on Monday. Shirke told ESPNcricinfo that he had written to the BCCI "before" Dalmiya told the media he would give Shirke another 24 hours to make up his mind. This meant Dalmiya had to swing into action at the earliest, with the board finding itself facing multiple issues and lacking its two main executive officials.

And even Dalmiya, a seasoned administrator, can't do much about the delay in filling up the vacancies - both positions are on an honorary basis - because of a lack of viable options.

"Most of the most eligible options don't want to consider the role since they are either too busy with their primary commitments or due to the fact that none of them are too forthcoming to accept the role as a caretaker at a time when the responsibility is so huge," a board insider said. "Most of them would prefer to be appointed office-bearers for a full term rather than being appointed as a caretaker for just three months going into the AGM."

Anurag Thakur, the incumbent joint secretary, was clearly the first choice to take over from Jagdale. However, Thakur, an MP and leader of the BJP, the main opposition party, declined the offer since he couldn't spare "so much time from preparations for the next year's (general) elections."

With Thakur unavailable, former India captain Anil Kumble and Orissa Cricket Association chief Ranjib Biswal emerged next in line. However, it is unlikely, for different reasons, that either of them would be willing to take up the offer. Biswal is in the UK as the Indian team's manager for the Champions Trophy and could be there till the tournament is over on June 23. Besides, ESPNcricinfo understands that Biswal, a former MP, is contemplating contesting next year's parliamentary elections, so he would also not be able to spare a lot of time for BCCI affairs upon his return.

Kumble, on the other hand, already wears too many hats. The president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association also heads the ICC's Cricket Committee and is mentor of Mumbai Indians. His association with an IPL franchise from another region of the country has already invoked opposition from a few KSCA members ahead of the KSCA elections. If Kumble accepts the role, he will either have to quit as Mumbai Indians mentor or be prepared to handle the next episode of the "conflict of interest" series in Indian cricket.

This could eventually mean that either Anirudh Chaudhry or SK Nair, two of Dalmiya's staunch loyalists during the Kolkata businessman's stint as the BCCI president, could be handed over the crucial responsibility. Chaudhry, son of former BCCI president Ranbir Singh Mahendra, heads the Haryana Cricket Association, while Nair was the BCCI secretary when Dalmiya was dictating Indian cricket's administration.

As for the treasurer's post, Sanjay Patel, Baroda Cricket Association's joint secretary who is also a member of IPL governing council, and Biswarup Dey, Cricket Association of Bengal's treasurer, have emerged as front-runners. Mumbai Cricket Association acting president Ravi Savant, a chartered accountant, may emerge as a dark horse.

Besides appointing secretary and treasurer, Dalmiya also has to reconstitute the probe panel to enquire complaints against Gurunath Meiyappan, BCCI president N Srinivasan's son-in-law who was granted bail in the IPL betting case, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. However, it was learned that the office bearers' appointments was the "top-most priority" and the probe panel's reconstitution would follow soon after that. ESPNcricinfo's repeated attempts to get in touch with Dalmiya didn't materialize since he was "busy with business meetings".

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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