Shashank Manohar’s resignation from the post of president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) has baffled everyone. He took over as BCCI president for a second term last October, after the demise of then president, Jagmohan Dalmiya, and was designated as the ICC chairman. However, with the ICC all set to revert to its old rule of not allowing its chief to hold a post in his/her home board, Mr. Manohar has stepped down.
In a recent interview with the Times of India, he explained the motive behind his sudden resignation.
What prompted you to resign from the BCCI?
If you recall, I was not very keen to return to the BCCI for a second stint. After Jagmohan Dalmiya’s sudden demise, when board members requested that I lead the BCCI again, I agreed because I felt it was time for me to give back something to the institution that serves Indian cricket. After taking over as the BCCI president for the second time (in October) I did my best and brought in major changes in the organisation. I feel certain portions of the Lodha panel’s recommendations are not in the interests of the board. It is very little I can do in the current scenario. My conscience no longer permits me to continue.
And why did you resign as the ICC chairman?
I took over as ICC chairman by virtue of being the BCCI nominee. After resigning from the BCCI, it would have been unethical on my part to continue as ICC chairman. That’s why I have resigned from both posts.
Aren’t you leaving the BCCI at a critical juncture?
I took over the BCCI reins at a critical juncture when it badly needed reforms. I am happy to say that I have successfully driven reforms in the past seven months and the BCCI is in a better shape now. I have always maintained that the institution is always greater than the individual and I am sure my colleagues will take it forward.
Are you disenchanted with the BCCI? Did you discuss this with other board members?
I am not disenchanted with the BCCI, but with the overall scenario. I shared my thoughts with my colleagues over the past couple of months. I must say there was pressure on me to continue but I have never felt comfortable hanging on to any post without contributing significantly.
How would you rate your own performance in the past seven months?
I am nobody to rate myself. All I can say is that after taking over the BCCI reins in October, I had asked for two months’ time to usher in changes, and I am happy to state that I delivered on all my promises well within that time frame.
Why have you shied away from appointing a coach for Team India?
It is wrong to say that the BCCI has dragged its feet on this issue. Ravi Shastri had already been appointed as the team director by the previous regime until the end of ICC World T20 meet. The IPL got underway a week after that. We have already shortlisted a few candidates and had preliminary discussions with them. It will be the prerogative of the new BCCI regime to appoint a new coach and guide the board’s fortunes.
What are the significant changes you brought about in the BCCI?
Look, the BCCI had to initiate steps to make itself more transparent. One of the first things I did after taking over was to put up BCCI’s entire annual report balance sheet on the website, which also lists any expenditure over Rs 25 lakh incurred by the board. I also appointed top accounting firms to audit not only BCCI’s accounts but also those submitted by the state associations. I have also stopped grants to those associations whose accounts have failed the audit. I have done away with the presidential vote and the entire BCCI constitution – with the latest amendments – have been uploaded on the website. We have also appointed a CEO following expert advice. The BCCI has also formulated strict guidelines on conflict of interest. An ombudsman has been appointed to address conflict-of-interest issues. Anyone can approach the ombudsman in case he/she feels there is a conflict of interest on any issue. The ombudsman’s decision is binding.
What prompted you to bring about reforms in the ICC?
As an administrator, I always strive for good governance. There was a conflict of interest in the ICC which needed to be addressed. For example, if I am the ICC chairman and also the BCCI president, can I be expected to adjudicate fairly, or without bias, on any issue pertaining to Indian cricket?
As BCCI’s nominee, am I not duty-bound to fight for our cause? On the other hand, as ICC chairman, I am expected to protect its interests. That’s why I have proposed that the post of the ICC chairman should be made `independent’ and it has been accepted unanimously .
It is being said that you have sacrificed BCCI’s top post for a shot at the ICC chairmanship…
The whole world knows how powerful the BCCI president’s post is, in the global context. Why would I quit a post if I had been angling for it? I could have continued to be the BCCI president as well as ICC chairman and not pushed for a change in the global body to have an independent head.