Dharamshala: Anurag Thakur, resident of Hamirpur, (a remote district of Himachal), BJP MP and son of ex CM HP PK Dhumal , on Sunday unanimously elected as the second youngest Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president, while Ajay Shirke was chosen as secretary in a smooth transition of power at a time when the world’s richest cricket Board is sailing through choppy waters. He is the 1st BCCI President from a small state like Himachal. The BJP MP from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh will be taking over the reins of the embattled Board in rather tough times as the BCCI is facing heat from the Supreme Court to implement the Justice R M Lodha Committee’s recommendations for sweeping reforms.
The 41-year-old Thakur replaced Shashank Manohar who quit the position to take up the International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman’s job. The Maharashtra Cricket Association chief and business magnate Shirke expectedly filled in the Secretary’s post which was left vacant by Thakur’s resignation yesterday.
Senior BCCI vice-president C K Khanna chaired the Special General Meeting (SGM) and announced Thakur’s name for the top job. “I feel humbled and honoured to be sitting here, it’s a journey which started 16 years ago,” Thakur said after taking over.
Manohar’s exit from the top post barely seven months into his tenure had necessitated the election of the new chief of the world’s richest and most powerful cricket body.
Thakur said he is prepared to confront the situation head on. “Where there is a challenge, there is an opportunity; it all depends on one’s perspective. I see an opportunity that this is the time to deliver,” asserted Thakur when asked whether he is prepared for the turbulent times ahead given the sweeping reforms recommended by the apex court’s panel.
“We are not running away from Lodha committee recommendations but we are in favour of using recommendations which are practical. We have already done reforms much before Lodha Committee recommendations. We understand our responsibility towards the most popular sport in the country,” he said. On Saturday, his predecessor Manohar had stated that the Indian Board had already implemented 75 per cent of the Lodha panel’s recommendations for sweeping reforms but had reservations on a few which, he felt, were not good for the game.
Thakur echoed the sentiment and insisted that the BCCI has always run as a professional body even though no institution can claim to be perfectly run. “I am grateful to Mr Manohar for expressing his views. He is a seasoned administrator. He has also expressed that how 100 percent implementation of recommendations won’t be feasible.
“The world knows how effectively run our Board is. We have tried to mend our ways. There are always areas to improve,” he said.
Soon after his resignation, Thakur got the signatures of all six east zone units in his BCCI presidential nomination from on Saturday, paving the way for his unanimous choice as the 34th President of the world’s most influential cricket body. In a show of solidarity on Saturday, all the six east units – Cricket Association of Bengal, Assam CA, Tripura CA, NCC and Jharkhand SCA – had signed his nomination papers even though the rules required only one unit to nominate the name of the presidential candidate. It was the East zone’s turn this time.
Thakur, incidentally, will go into the books as the first first-class cricketer to turn BCCI president after Raj Singh Dungarpur ended his tenure in 1998-99. Although cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar had held the post jointly with another Test cricketer Shivlal Yadav briefly, specifically in charge of IPL affairs, that had been done at the direction of the Supreme Court which ordered then President N Srinivasan to step aside in the wake of the 2013 IPL betting and spot fixing scandal.
While Dungarpur had played 86 first class matches for Rajasthan and the then Madhya Bharat as a medium pacer and also claimed 206 wickets, Thakur has represented HP in a lone Ranji Trophy game as a right-hand batsman and off break bowler in 2000-01 season.
(News agency inputs)