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Manohar becomes new BCCI boss, pledges transparency

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NewsGram Staff Writer

Mumbai:  Shashank Manohar took over the reins of the Board of Control for Cricket in India at a Special General Meeting (SGM) of the board on Sunday. Assuming office, he pledged to cleanse corruption, ensure transparency and restore the board’s lost reputation.

The BCCI chief’s post was lying vacant since incumbent Jagmohan Dalmiya died in Kolkata on September 20, and the SGM was called to choose the new president. As per the BCCI constitution, a SGM to nominate a successor has to be convened within 15 days of the incumbent chief’s death.

Manohar, a lawyer by profession, earlier held the top post from 2008 to 2011. The 58-year-old was elected for a full two-year term as all the six East Zone cricket units unanimously proposed his candidature for the board president’s post.

It was East Zone’s turn this time around to pick the president, and all six associations of the zone proposed Manohar’s name. As he was the lone candidate in the fray, Manohar was elected for the second tenure.

Among the six proposers of Manohar’s name was Dalmiya’s son Avishek, who was representing the National Cricket Club (NCC) in the SGM.

The others backing Manohar for the board chief’s post were Sourav Ganguly from Bengal, Sourav Dasgupta from Tripura, Gautam Roy from Assam, Ashirbad Behera of Odisha, and Sanjay Singh of the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA).

“We have to work on a couple of issues regarding the board and bring back the reputation back as early as possible. I need two months’ time, in which I will look into all the aspects,” Manohar told reporters at a press conference after being elected the president.”

“I will continue to work on the issues Dalmiya had started working on. I will look to do my duty as best as possible,” he added.

“The first thing would be as functions of the interest issue of the BCCI. The board will frame regulations with regard to function of interest of administrators and their staffs that would be done within a month’s time.”

“The board would also appoint an imbursement, for an ethics officer, who would be independent of their post and who would look into the complaints as regard to the conflicts of the administrator, players and their staffs,” he said.

The newly elected president stressed that his second aim would be to wipe away and prevent corruption from the game.

“Secondly, the board would lay down the norms and would take measures to prevent and wipe away corruption in the game. For this, the board will make programmes to educate the players.”

Manohar said, “Also with the help of secretary Thakur, who is a member of parliament, we would like to meet the government officials to see and work out if we can get any investigating agency, as we did not have investigative powers, our hands were tied.”

His third item on the agenda in the upcoming months would be to keep a track of the state associations and appoint an independent auditor from the board who would look into their works.

“Thirdly, there is a huge debate that the state associations are being paid a huge amount of money and nobody knows what happens to the money, if it is spent on cricketing activities or something else,” he said.”

“Now the accounts of all the associations are audited by their auditors. However, we will build a system by which the accounts of the associations will be audited by an independent auditor appointed by the board. The board will have the right to take action against the associations if the board finds the money given is not being used in proper was,” Manohar said.

The BCCI chief also said that the board will put up its rules and regulations along with details of its expenditure on its website in order to ensure transparency.

“There is another debate that arises… that the board is not transparent and everything is kept under the wrap. This problem could be sorted out by putting on the website of the board, the constitution of the board, all rules of board, all expenses made by the board above Rs.25 lakh, so that people are aware what and where BCCI is spending the money,” he mentioned.

“At the end of the year, we can put the balance sheet of the board on the website, so it is available to the entire public. There is no wrong done in the board,” he said.

Speaking on National Cricket Academy (NCA) and women’s cricket in India, he said, “we will make sure National Cricket Academy works round the year and helps bring out good players and spinners. We will also focus on women’s cricket and develop it, and we will enter into contracts with women cricketers also.”

Manohar has had his fair share of differences with former board chief N. Srinivasan, but made it clear that he holds the Tamil Nadu strongman’s administrative abilities in high esteem.

“If Srinivasan attends the Annual General Meeting, he will come in as a member. As far Srinivasan is concerned, he was an excellent secretary, better than most of the other secretaries. He can be said as the best secretary after Dalmiya,” he said.

Speaking on renewal of India-Pakistan cricket, the new BCCI president said the final decision rests with the governments of the two countries and not just their cricket boards.

“Decision on India-Pakistan cricket renewal cannot be just taken by both the boards. It is a decision which has to be taken by both the governments primarily,” Manohar said.

Speaking on the World Twenty20 in 2016 which India is to host, Manohar said, “the World Twenty20 is coming up in next year. Our priority will be to conduct that event in best possible and clean manner and we all function in a transparent manner.”

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur congratulated Manohar on becoming the new board president.

“After the demise of Dalmiya, we had to elect a president. And all six associations of the East Zone proposed the name of Manohar and he was elected unanimously,” Thakur said.

“We have seen in his last tenure how well he has worked and how well his work was appreciated, specially his stewardship. With him as president, cricket in India will grow with every passing day,” the BCCI secretary added.

(With inputs from IANS)

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When Was The First Cricket Test Match Played By India?

Not only did the Indian team rattle a very strong English side, it also made the small world of cricket sit up and take notice of their talent

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It was this impact that led to June 25, 1932, going down in India’s cricketing history as a red letter day. Wikimedia Commons
It was this impact that led to June 25, 1932, going down in India’s cricketing history as a red letter day. Wikimedia Commons
  • All-India cricket team played its first cricket test match in England
  • On the same date i.e June 25, India won the ICC cricket world cup in 1983
  • Parsis were the first in India, to show an interest in cricket

Cricket’s journey in India began after British traders and soldiers brought the sport to Indian shores during colonial rule. The first cricket test match in India is believed to have been played by British sailors at Cambay in 1721.

The first Indians to take interest in cricket were the Parsis. They established the Oriental Cricket Club in 1846 and subsequently the Parsi Cricket Club, which sent its team to play in England in 1886 – it played in 28 matches, lost 19, drew eight and won only one.

Unfamiliar with English conditions, the Parsi cricketers were not able to make much of a mark but their adaptability made an impression upon the Englishmen. The resulting appreciation led to another tour two years later.

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The first Indians to take interest in cricket were the Parsis. Wikimedia Commons
The first Indians to take interest in cricket were the Parsis. Wikimedia Commons

After two more unofficial tours in 1888 and 1911 (financed and captained by the young Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupendra Singh), and within three years of the formation of the Board of Control for Cricket in India in 1928, the first official Indian team left for England to play its first cricket Test match.

Maharaja of Patiala was named the first caption of the Indian team. Prince Ganshyamsinhji of Limbdi was the vice-captain and the Maharaj Kumar of Vizianagram was the deputy vice-captain.

Two weeks before the team left for the tour, the Maharaja of Patiala stepped down on health grounds while the Maharaj Kumar of Vizianagram withdrew from the team citing his lack of form and fitness. The choice of captain fell upon the Maharaja of Porbandar (who, funnily enough, was undoubtedly the worst player in the team) while Jahangir Khan was drafted into the team as a replacement for Vizzy.

The All-India Cricket team played its first cricket test match in England in 1932. Wikimedia Commons
The All-India Cricket team played its first cricket test match in England in 1932. Wikimedia Commons

When the Indians arrived in England to play their first cricket test match, on April 13, 1932, London newspaper Evening Standard made the following comment on the socio-political significance of the tour:

“No politics, no caste, just cricket. This is the unofficial slogan of the cricket team that has come from India after a lapse of 21 years. There has never been such a team of contrasts meeting on the common footing of cricket. The 18 players speak eight to 10 languages among them and belong to four or five different castes.”

The Maharaja of Porbandar was relying on Limbdi before he strained his back in a minor match, afterwards he handed over the captaincy to Cottari Kanakaiya Nayudu.

The superbly fit and strong Nayudu was India’s best batsman and had just smashed the first Indian century of the tour in style. The Star’s headline on May 22, 1932, summed it all up: “The Hindu Bradman in Form at Lord’s”.

Choosing Nayudu, who would go on to be Wisden Cricketer Of The Year in 1933, as the captain of the team was thus a very wise decision by the Maharaja of Porbandar. Wikimedia Commons
Choosing Nayudu, who would go on to be Wisden Cricketer Of The Year in 1933, as the captain of the team was thus a very wise decision by the Maharaja of Porbandar. Wikimedia Commons

As India’s first cricket test match unfolded, the performance of the relatively raw Indian side left the English shocked in the first half-hour itself.

After winning the toss and opting for batting first, Sutcliffe and Holmes, Yorkshire’s record-smashing opening pair (they had put on 555-run partnership just nine days ago), walked out full of cool confidence.

But some excellent bowling by Indian fast bowlers, Mohammad Nissar and Amar Singh, reduced the English team to a dismal 19-3 in the first 20 minutes!

At the end of their first day in International Test cricket, the Indian team stood at 30 without loss, a respectable scoreline against the formidable English side. Wikimedia Commons
At the end of their first day in International Test cricket, the Indian team stood at 30 without loss, a respectable scoreline against the formidable English side. Wikimedia Commons

After the worst possible start, English captain Douglas Jardine and Wally Hammond began stitching together a partnership, but it was difficult with the Indians bowling with nagging accuracy and fielding with sharp agility. Hammond lost his wicket just after lunch and the English team was bowled out for 259 before tea on the first day.

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Describing the day’s play, The Birmingham Post wrote: “The All India cricket team has administered a few shocks to the dignity and confidence of England today. If there were among the 24,000 spectators at Lord’s some who imagined that the granting of a Test match by the MCC to the tourists from the Indian empire was merely an amiable concession, then they had a very rude awakening before the close of play.”

At the end of their first day in International Test cricket, the Indian team stood at 30 without loss, a respectable scoreline against the formidable English side. While the next day started well for the Indians, with their score being 110 for 1 at one point, the lack of experience (other than Nayudu and Nazir Ali, all the Indian batsmen had practised only on matting wickets) was soon exposed as the middle order collapsed. From 160 for 4, India folded to 189 all out.

However, while India eventually lost the match by 158 runs, the courage and grit shown by the team, evident in the first 30 minutes itself, clearly conveyed to the world that it wouldn’t take much time for the Indians to carve out a niche for themselves in the world of cricket.

It was this impact that led to June 25, 1932, going down in India’s cricketing history as a red letter day. Interestingly, 51 years later on the same day, the Indian cricket team (led by Kapil Dev) made history at Lord’s by winning the Prudential Cup, as if commemorating the momentous day in Indian cricket.