With Shashank Manohar’s term as ICC chairman winding down in July, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has emerged as one of the top contenders for the soon-to-be-vacant post at cricket’s world governing body, an ESPNcricinfo report states.
Manohar, who became the ICC’s first independent chairman in 2016, before being re-elected unanimously in 2018, is constitutionally within his rights to run for a third term. But it is understood that he presently has no intentions of doing so.
Now, Ganguly has emerged as a frontrunner, alongside ECB chairman Colin Graves. The report further states that Ganguly is the numero uno choice even within the BCCI. Other potential candidates include N Srinivasan, current BCCI secretary Jay Shah and former president Anurag Thakur.
However, Srinivasan, at age 70, doesn’t qualify to be elected as a representative, as per the BCCI constitution, while Shah hasn’t attended an ICC board meeting yet – one of the eligibility criteria for the post of chairman – and Thakur’s current standing as a union minister in India renders him ineligible.
Ganguly himself has to undergo a three-year cooling off period once his tenure as BCCI president ends in July. But the current administration has already moved the Supreme Court, seeking an amendment to the constitutional provisions that deal with tenures of office-bearers.
Ganguly’s candidacy has already drawn the support of CSA acting chief executive Jacques Faul and director of cricket Graeme Smith, although the board itself later refrained from definitively stating its stance, through a press release quoting its president Chris Nenzani.
“It would be great to see a cricket man like Sourav Ganguly get into the president (chairman) role of the ICC,” Smith said. “Post Covid-19, and with the things that are going to come our way, we need to have strong leadership, and I feel like Sourav Ganguly is best positioned for that at the moment. I know him well. I feel that he has got the credibility and leadership skills and is someone that can really take the game forward.”
Faul added: “We have checked this with the leadership of South African cricket if we would support an Indian candidate, and at this stage, we would. From a CSA point of view, we don’t see any problems supporting an Indian candidate. To be fair, we’ve got to look at who is nominated, bring it back to the board, and there’s got to be a mandate.”
CSA, however, followed up the duo’s statements with one of their own, stating: “We must respect both the ICC protocol and our own protocol in deciding which candidate to back. There have been no candidates nominated as yet, and once such nominations have been made, the board of CSA will take its decision in terms of its own protocol and give the chairman the mandate to exercise his vote as an ICC board director accordingly. At the moment, we don’t want to anticipate any candidates who may be nominated for this important position to lead the game we all love.”
Likely opposition to Ganguly’s candidacy could come from the ECB, PCB, and potentially Cricket Ireland. The ICC is yet to finalise the nomination process, after which interested candidates can enter the fray.