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BCCI relationship Lorgat's top priority

Firdose Moonda

July 22, 2013

Comments: 16 | Text size: A | A

ICC president shares a thought with head of legal and company secretary, David Becker, Dubai, January 31, 2012
Haroon Lorgat on the BCCI: "I don't like to be out of favour with someone I thought was a friend. I will do my best to understand the concerns" © Getty Images

Understanding the BCCI's concerns and improving his relationship with the Indian board is one of Haroon Lorgat's top priorities as he begins his tenure as chief executive of CSA. Lorgat was appointed on Saturday and will officially take over the role on August 1 for a term of three years. His unveiling ends a nine-month period of uncertainty for the organisation which has been without a permanent boss since Gerald Majola's sacking in October 2012.

Although Lorgat was considered the frontrunner for the job even before he applied late last year, when CSA's board restructure was completed, a major hurdle to his appointment was the BCCI's objection. The Indian board is believed to harbour dissatisfaction with Lorgat from his time at the ICC, where they clashed with him over issues ranging from the FTP and DRS to the corporate governance review.

They informed CSA of their unhappiness and there was even talk India would cancel its upcoming tour to South Africa. CSA's president Chris Nenzani confirmed officials from South Africa met with the BCCI in February to discuss, among other things, Lorgat. The board is satisfied they have not put either the India tour or their relationship with the BCCI at risk despite giving Lorgat the top job.

"We went to India and talked to the president of the BCCI and they raised their concerns about Haroon [Lorgat]," Nenzani said at a press conference at the Wanderers. "We told them, 'We will not undermine your concerns but we will have to take decision based on the interests of CSA.' We have a long history of friendship and a good relationship with the BCCI and we value that relationship. We have no reason to believe this appointment will jeopardise the relationship in any way."

Nenzani said he had received "no information the tour will not go ahead", while Lorgat confirmed the two boards are still in talks about the itinerary. CSA released a schedule for two T20s, seven ODIs and three Tests to be played between November 21 and January 19 but the BCCI want some adjustments that could see the Tests played first.

By the time India arrive in South Africa, Lorgat would have completed three months in office and hopes to have gleaned thorough knowledge of the BCCI's reservations about him, reassured them and gained their trust. Lorgat admitted he is "not too sure" exactly what the BCCI's point of contention is but conceded they bumped heads at the ICC and the ethics officer was called in to mediate. All complaints against Lorgat were dismissed thereafter and Lorgat thought the matter had been put to bed.

"I am saddened by these inferences and I did not expect such a poor relationship to have formed. I don't like to be out of favour with someone I thought was a friend. I will do my best to understand the concerns," he said.

If I need to sit across a table, to go to India, whatever it takes to smooth things over, I have to put CSA first. When the issues come out, if it means I have offended someone and I need to apologise, I will. Haroon Lorgat

But it does not end there. Not only does Lorgat want to comprehend, he also wants to reconcile and he is willing to go the extra mile to ensue that happens. "If I need to sit across a table, to go to India, whatever it takes to smooth things over, I have to put CSA first. When the issues come out, if it means I have offended someone and I need to apologise, I will."

Lorgat's deference to India may seem at odds with CSA's bold decision to choose him despite India's unhappiness, but Lorgat explained he is not seeking to further ruffle feathers. "We have to respect India and it's up to me to fix up anything that needs patching," he said.

Asked if he thought India was too powerful and used that might to exert their will, Lorgat was diplomatic. "I think in anything too much dominance of one person is not good. But I also think we should not begrudge strong people. We should aspire to be as strong as they are."

Over the last two years, while South Africa's Test team has gained the highest stature in world cricket, its administration has lagged far behind. The bonus scandal and revolving door of acting presidents and acting CEOs led to what ESPNCricinfo understands was a loss of respect at higher levels.

Lorgat's other aim is to restore the standing CSA once had, both in the eyes of other boards and its own public, whose trust was dented in the aftermath of the Majola affair. "What's happened in the past was not what anybody wanted to see," Lorgat said. "I am confident the reputation will improve. I am impressed by the new board and I think we have good people who will ensure corporate governance."

He also thanked his predecessor Majola, despite the manner in which he was dismissed, for "leading the organisation for almost a decade." Under Majola, South Africa hosted ICC events such as the inaugural World T20 and 2009 Champions Trophy and even stood in to put on the IPL in season 2.

Ironically, staging the Indian event led to Majola's downfall. Bonus payments from that event which did not pass through the board were the main reason for him being fired. But that South Africa were willing to bail India out in their hour of need was indication of the closeness of their relationship and Lorgat hopes to begin restoring that as soon as he can.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by   on (July 27, 2013, 10:58 GMT)

Once again media has put out the stories to dilute the real issues,which outside of the two boards,are just guessing.BCCI have no need to do anything more regarding the DRS.

As far the dreaded DRS is concern, ICC need to review the Ashes FIASCO.... and see the it in false glory.........(LBW / CATCHES ???????????

The beautiful game of cricket do not need DRS for making every decision,the umpires have been in charge for long time........., invest time and money to train more ex players and it turn you will see the game will flourish.

Posted by Rohit... on (July 23, 2013, 6:54 GMT)

Some peole are commenting without any knowledge of the issue....They believe that since BCCI has mony, all they do is wrong... Frst try to clear your mind and then comment.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2013, 5:01 GMT)

So if you don't agree with BCCI, you should not have a place/job under the ICC Umbrella - is that the message. Lorgats disagreement is due to his opinion. BCCI should stop Arm-twisting Boards to get what they prefer - they've done it in the past!!

Posted by on (July 23, 2013, 4:25 GMT)

I can't see a reason why any board should have a problem with any other board chosing someone as it's head. I have certainly not come across any such news, despite the Indian media being so notoroius with leaks and scoops. I am sure BCCI will have some concerns and at times they use high handedness to get their way, but can not beleive that they would do so with appointment of CSA head. They may have had issues with Logart as the ICC cheif but CSA cheif is different. Moreover Sharad Pawar, the then head of BCCI, has also moved on. I think this article is based more on imagination than facts.

Posted by joelaugustine on (July 23, 2013, 3:55 GMT)

If you don't have any problems with United States interfering in other nations' internal affairs then you shouldn't have any problems with BCCI either.

Posted by JustIPL on (July 23, 2013, 3:40 GMT)

Very diplomatic stance by Lorgat. The main concern BCCI had was with his appointment in the first place which it could not stop. All know Lorgat was after restoring international cricket in Pakistan and thus mustered indian board opposition. I hope he will manage his preferences and Indian board's preferences to find a common ground.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (July 23, 2013, 3:37 GMT)

@Zubair Maverick: You sound as if you know the complete truth about the matter. This article is clearly a biased article to fume the appetite of BCCI haters. There is absolutely no evidence that the BCCI is trying to compromise Mr. Lorgat's appointment as CSA's CEO. For all their supposed vilification, the BCCI has a RICH history of helping to pave the future of cricket boards beginning with SA back in the early 90s when they were coming out of the apartheid regime. India along with Pakistan helped Bangladesh achieve their test status back in 2000. India have helped Sri Lanka financially many times. So it's difficult to even believe this article. I would do some research if I were you.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2013, 2:35 GMT)

The BCCI needs to stop acting as bullies and let us go about our business... Its absolutely ridiculous that the BCCI would even think for a second that CSA would put the BCCI's needs ahead of our own... If they want to boycott the tour and act like the spoilt brats that they are, then let them be... See where SA will be the next time they need help with rescheduling

Posted by   on (July 23, 2013, 1:59 GMT)

Lorgat needs to learn from past and mend his way. He should also learn to not be in news all the time.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2013, 0:34 GMT)

It is sad to see that BCCI goes to such lengths! Interfering into the affairs of another board as to who should be their president is shameful. Its like US dictating to various "allies" who should be their heads of states!

Posted by fairwicket on (July 22, 2013, 22:30 GMT)

It is not clear what the objections of BCCI are and if the "cancellation of trip to SA" is even connected to appointment of Mr. Lorgat. We have read about BCCI objections to the SA tour long before this appointment of Mr.Lorgat became news. With minimal circumstantial evidence, this article casts BCCI in negative light and by doing so catering to BCCI haters. Ofcourse, in the end, nothing changes and the sun will still come out in the East and no one can change attitudes of the BCCI or CSA or any other board. But sticking to fairness while putting pen to paper and clearly explaining the facts (from fiction) are something we can hope from the writers. After all, journalistic integrity and not personal vitriole is what we can (hopefully) count on.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 19:57 GMT)

A good read. However the last paragraph made me chuckle as the author writes,

"But that South Africa were willing to bail India out in their hour of need was indication of the closeness of their relationship..."

Yes, India needed a venue to hold IPL2 as the government was unable to provide security due to elections. However, hosting IPL2 meant a LOT of money for any country. Remember that there were boards other than CSA furiously bidding for the chance. The BCCI simply picked the country where matches could be played at the right hours to coincide with prime television time in India. There were no favors done, and "closeness" is all about the Benjamins.

Posted by ulmo on (July 22, 2013, 15:39 GMT)

I am an Indian and I have been pretty positive about BCCI so far inspite of all the criticisms it has faced but I have to say I am distinctly uncomfortable with BCCI interfering with what should be an internal affair of another board.Who CSA appoints as chief executive should not be BCCI's concern. Imagine if England or Australia or South Africa said they dont want to deal with Sharad Pawar or Jagmohan Dalmiya. It opens up bad precedence of what can happen when India is no longer the dominant financial power in cricket. It can happen. Till the late 80s it was England and Australia who dictated terms to the rest of the world. I think this is a major over reach. Not sure about the details but I must say that BCCI should not interfere with CSA appointing the CEO.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 14:42 GMT)

Thats the worst domination Indian board has started. I think international sports court should take a look on this event. The domination of people rather game. Politics of BCCI across the board. Ever since Australia board has started playing Champions league their graph is going down day by day.

Posted by DIFLEY on (July 22, 2013, 12:41 GMT)

India will be hughly benefitted if ODI are played before Tests as players will be fully acclamatised with the conditions before tough tests. India did that on NZ tour and won the test series in NZ after 35 years or so. If tests are played first, no chance that India makes their first series win in SA. BCCI should not put their ego ahead of India chances.

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