Putting all the hectic parleys and backroom maneuvering to rest, the BCCI bigwigs seemed to have stumble on a consensus candidate for the president’s post left vacant by the demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya.
In a stunning twist on Saturday, former board chief Shashank Manohar emerged as the consensus candidate for the top job in Indian cricket administration.
According to a report in The Times of India, former BCCI treasurer and Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) president Ajay Shirke has said that Manohar was the “unanimous choice” of the Sharad Pawar-Anurag Thakur alliance to take over as the next board president.
Shirke said Manohar has agreed to take over the coveted job and a formal announcement regarding this will be made soon.
“Manohar is our unanimous choice,” Shirke told TOI.
When asked further that whether Manohar has agreed to take over the post, Shirke said: “Yes. I wouldn’t be telling you this otherwise. I’ve no doubt that he has (agreed). The formal announcement regarding this will be made soon.”
Earlier on Wednesday, two former BCCI chiefs and known foes N Srinivasan and Sharad Pawar added a new dimension to the succession battle when the duo met in Nagpur, raising quite a few eye brows and send the BCCI administration in a jiffy.
According to reports in various sections of the media, it was learnt that Pawar and Srinivasan have come together to cobble up the numbers.
However, Shirke dismissed the speculations about Pawar having joined hands with Srinivasan.
“I don’t know why the media went to town saying that there was a ‘deal’ between them. Can you please show me the ‘deal’? Thousands of people go to meet Pawar everyday . Did Pawar say anywhere that he wanted to become the president again? I give full credit to him here. He will never do something which is against the interests of the board,” he was quoted as saying by TOI.
“Pawar, and all of us, are fully behind Manohar. In times like these, the board needs a strong president like him,” he added.
Praising the efforts of Tahkur, Shirke said: “He has done a wonderful job in the last six months.”
Former board boss Sharad Pawar who was himself in the fray, and Arun Jaitley are believed to have arrived at a consensus over Manohar as the agreeable candidate, and an official announcement to that effect is expected within 48 hours.
The details of this master plan to prevent Srinivasan from gaining importance within the inner sanctum of the BCCI were revealed to CNN-IBN by sources close to the development.
One of the tallest administrators in the board’s history, Manohar has been hailed as the man who could lead Indian cricket out of the crisis it finds itself mired in, in the aftermath of the IPL 2013 betting and spot-fixing scam. Manohar who has been very vocal of a total clean-up of the IPL, and also asked for Srinivasan to step down after his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested in the IPL betting and spot-fixing scam.
Known to be a man of few words, Manohar will be a good choice for the board that seeks to improve its image. Not to forget Ajay Shirke, who took the unprecedented step of stepping down from the BCCI after Srinivasan refused to step down.
While this certainly looks to end the deadlock over the BCCI president’s post that ensued after the demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya last Sunday, one cannot for sure rule out further twists in the tale. After all, the BCCI has seen many a fierce battle fought within its boardrooms over the decades.