Kolkata: BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, who passed away in Kolkata late Sunday night will forever be remembered as the man who made Indian cricket a self sufficient entity and engineered a shift of power base from its spiritual home at Lord’s to Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.
In his chequered administrative career, he saw it all: the good, the bad and the proverbial ugly.
If Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket was revolution that rocked the traditional cricket establishment of Australia, it was the astute business man from Kolkata, who understood the potential of India becoming commercially a global powerhouse of cricket.
His biggest gift to Indian cricket was to strike a multi million television deal with World Tel in the early 90s that went a long way in making BCCI the richest cricketing body in the world.
A shrewd tactician and someone who was at the forefront of the BCCI numbers game, Dalmiya was the brain behind India co-hosting the Reliance World Cup in 1987 and then the Wills World Cup in 1996.
In his 35 year administrative career that started from being elected as Cricket Association of Bengal working committee member from Rajasthan Club, it was followed by being the treasurer and subsequently the secretary of the body.
A protege of former BCCI president BN Dutt, he became the treasurer in the mid-1980’s and was known as the man who convinced NKP Salve to allow Eden Gardens host the Reliance Cup final instead of Wankhede Stadium.
He along with friend-turned-foe Inderjit Singh Bindra also defeated the England and Australian block to win the bid for co-hosting 1996 edition in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
In 1997, he was elected unanimously as the president of the International Cricket Council (ICC). In 2001, he defeated AC Muttiah to become the BCCI president in one of the most pitched elections in Chennai.
In one of the most political BCCI fight, Dalmiya’s casting vote in favour of his candidate Ranbir Singh Mahendra to defeat Union Minister and NCP heavyweight Sharad Pawar by a solitary vote.
However the quartet of Pawar, N Srinivasan, Shashank Manohar and Lalit Modi with the backing of Bindra came back next year to not only defeat Mahendra but also opened cases against him.
He was suspended from the BCCI in 2006 and also ousted from his home association. Dalmiya won a long legal battle and then again got his place in the state association back.
When the spot-fixing scandal broke, he was the first consensus candidate for interim president’s post and earlier this year, he again emerged as the man who was found acceptable by one and all to take up the president’s mantle.