Cool customer at the top in tough times for the Board

Shashank Manohar, who took over as the 36th president of the BCCI on Sunday, regains control of the country’s richest sporting body at a time when cricket’s image has been tarnished by the spot-fixing scandal and intense factionalism.

The reticent 58-year-old Nagpur-based lawyer has been known as someone who shows a tough, no-nonsense attitude while at the same time accommodating the needs of the players.

A shrewd tactician and someone who knows implications of any policy decision like the back of his hand, Manohar has been a trouble-shooter since 2005, when he became the vice- president and ‘Man-Friday’ to Sharad Pawar, who became the president that year.

Once he was through in 2011 with his first presidential tenure, Manohar stepped away from the limelight, rarely voicing his opinion on cricketing matters until the spot-fixing scandal broke in 2013.

From then, Manohar and N Srinivasan became adversaries with the former sticking to the principles that needed to be followed, urging the Tamil Nadu strongman to relinquish his post.

That he stuck to his principles was proved when he made it clear that he is not in favour of Pawar aligning with Srinivasan in the presidential battle following the demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya.

In a Board riddled by scandals, factionalism, money-power and heavy politicking, the need of the hour was for a man, whose image could restore the faith and credibility of the sporting body whose revenues runs into millions of dollars.

While mulling on a replacement for Dalmiya, the majority of the influential decision-makers in the BCCI, including finance minister Arun Jaitley, could come up with only one name and that was Manohar’s.

Some of his ground-breaking decisions during his first tenure (2008-11) include suspension of erstwhile IPL commissioner Lalit Modi on allegations of financial irregularities, calling for fresh bids for new teams after allegations of rigging, and advising BCCI to encash the bank guarantee of Kochi Tuskersafter they defaulted on franchisee fee.

It was in Manohar’s first tenure that India regained ODI World Cup and players were rewarded with a cash prize of Rs 2 crore each after it was decided that they would be given Rs 1 crore each initially.

The only two aspects where he has been criticised are his silence when Srinivasan was allowed to bid for an IPL team in 2007-08 and when the zonal rotation policy of the BCCI was done away with.

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