Wednesday September 19, 2018
Home India In Memory of ...

In Memory of Jagmohan Dalmiya : Obituary

0
//
133
Republish
Reprint

Kolkata: At the height of his career, it used to be said that Jagmohan Dalmiya could sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo. Such was the marketing genius of the man, who brought money to Indian cricket and replicated the success when he became the first Asian to head the game’s global body.

Seasoned cricket administrator Dalmiya, 75, who died on Sunday, was also known for his resilience, with even his detractors acknowledging that he had it in him to swim back to the shore if thrown deep into the sea, or could rise like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes.

sify.com
sify.com

The septuagenarian’s almost unbelievable comeback earlier this year as the head of the country’s premier cricket body BCCI, which had once ignominiously thrown him out, only reinforced the notion.

Born in a business family in 1940, Dalmiya was a club-level cricketer. He kept wickets for two teams – Jorabagan and Rajasthan – in the (then) Calcutta cricket league, and switched to cricket administration after hanging up his gloves.

Mentored by then BCCI mandarin Biswanath Dutt, Dalmiya cut his teeth in Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) politics, one of the most chequered and marathon innings in India’s sports administration.

Dalmiya became BCCI treasurer in 1983 – the year India won the World Cup. The wily businessman didn’t take much time to understand that huge money could be brought to the game from telecast rights, and teamed up with his then friend and later big foe I.S. Bindra to bring the cricket World Cup out of the British soil for the first time in 1987, as India and Pakistan co-hosted the hugely successful Reliance Cup.

cricketcountry.com
cricketcountry.com

Later, he served as BCCI secretary, before becoming ICC chief for three years in 1997.

As the top man of the global body, he brought money to it too. The ICC, which had a paltry sum in its coffers when he took over, was flush with funds when Dalmiya’s stint ended in 2000.

Dalmiya was elected BCCI president in 2001. He was all-in-all in the board till his tenure ended in 2004.

Later that year, Dalmiya hoisted his acolyte Ranbir Singh Mahendra as his successor in a tantalizingly close election where then union minister Sharad Pawar threw his hat into the ring for the top post.

As the election ended in a tie, Dalmiya gave his casting vote to ensure Mahendra’s victory, prompting a dejected Pawar to remark that the entire process was unfair.

“The umpire was the bowler,” Pawar had quipped after his loss.

Dalmiya then controlled the board by proxy for a year, with Mahendra being a mere puppet.

But the Pawar camp fought back by using all means to checkmate Dalmiya at his own game in the 2005 election.

Months later, the BCCI lodged a police complaint against Dalmiya for alleged misappropriation of funds related to the 1996 World Cup in which India was a co-host.

As Dalmiya faced a police probe, the BCCI expelled him in December 2006, which also forced him to step down as CAB president, months after a nerve-wracking election which he had won by defeating then West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s nominee, city Police Commissioner Prasun Mukherjee.

In mid-2007, Dalmiya was exonerated by the court, and he returned to head the CAB in 2008, by defeating then president Mukherjee.

However, in the next few years, he seemed only a shadow of his former self. He looked old, and his lack of full fitness was talked about in CAB circles.

But the wily cricket administrator bid his time, and pulled off the first surprise when sidelined president N. Srinivasan pitchforked him to the post of BCCI interim chief in June 2013 after the spot-fixing scam emerged.

The short term as head of the board brought him back to centrestage, with also displaying his wide acceptability in the board.

Dalmiya again played his cards well after the Supreme Court ran out Srinivasan from the race.

Keeping both the lobbies headed by Srinivasan and Pawar guessing his next moves, Dalmiya deftly exploited the hostility between the two to put himself up as an acceptable candidate and ultimately won the seat unopposed.

(IANS)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

Next Story

War of Words Between Associations, Irks Ganguly

"The CAB had done nothing about it for a long time. For the pair, it was business as usual till the letter came and stirred a hornet's nest," a source close to the development said.

0
Ganguly shot off a letter, a copy of which was circulated to the media, asking Banerjee not to pay heed to such cases since the complainant did not reveal his or her identity. Flickr
Ganguly shot off a letter, a copy of which was circulated to the media, asking Banerjee not to pay heed to such cases since the complainant did not reveal his or her identity. Flickr

An anonymous letter has triggered a war words between Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) ombudsman Ushanath Banerjee and state board President Sourav Ganguly over alleged conflict of interest of selectors Palash Nandy and Madan Ghosh.

Banerjee had received an anonymous letter a few days back which pointed out that senior selection panel chief Nandy was associated with a cricket coaching camp.

Further, it alleged that Ghosh, who moved from the senior to junior selection recently was both associated with a coaching camp and had also represented White Border Club in CAB meetings previously.

“The CAB had done nothing about it for a long time. For the pair, it was business as usual till the letter came and stirred a hornet’s nest,” a source close to the development said.

Ganguly shot off a letter, a copy of which was circulated to the media, asking Banerjee not to pay heed to such cases since the complainant did not reveal his or her identity.

“The Cricket Association of Bengal will not entertain any such anonymous communication and as such you being an important part of the organisation should follow the same. I feel you are not entitled to give any reply,” Ganguly wrote.

"You have been incorrectly advised by persons without any homework being done and based on mere knowledge in the subject matter in issue," Banerjee wrote to Ganguly. Flickr
“You have been incorrectly advised by persons without any homework being done and based on mere knowledge in the subject matter in issue,” Banerjee wrote to Ganguly. Flickr

Banerjee hit back within hours using strong language. The four-page rejoinder was also circulated to the media.

Banerjee rejected the former India captain’s diktat, saying: “it is widely acknowledged that in the interest of maintaining transparency, organisations world over take cognizance of anonymous information.”

To butress his point, he cited in the letter examples of cases where the judiciary has acted on the basis of anonymous information.

“You have been incorrectly advised by persons without any homework being done and based on mere knowledge in the subject matter in issue,” Banerjee wrote to Ganguly.

“I humbly request you to kindly point out the said policy of CAB, as referred in your letter, and the date when so adopted,” the reply read.

Also Read: Sourav Ganguly receives Death threat in a Letter warning him against attending Vidyasagar University’s Cricket meet in Midnapore

When contacted, the senior advocate gave an impression that the issue had been resolved but did not want to be quoted on any further action. (IANS)