New Delhi: The power game being played at the corridors of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) took an interesting but altogether unexpected turn with the reported emergence of hesitant Shashank Manohar as a consensus candidate to fill the void left by the death of board president Jagmohan Dalmiya on Sunday.
According to a report in CNN-IBN, the 57-year-old former president has emerged as the clear favourite for BCCI's top post - for a second stint - during a meeting convened by Arun Jaitley on Thurday night in the later's residence. Even after leaving direct cricket administrative work, the Union Finance Minister is still a prominent figure in BCCI politics.
Besides Manohar, the meeting was attended by former treasurer Ajay Shirke -- both from the Sharad Pawar camp and BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur . It's a known fact that both Manohar and Shirke against Narayanaswami Srinivasan, who seemed to have formed an alliance with their big brother Pawar.
The reported meeting between the two old foes, Pawar and Srinivasan occupied prime space in last couple of days, as both the heavyweights of Indian cricket administration carry political and financial wherewithal to change the course of any election outcome.
In fact, reacting to the bonhomie between the bosses of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) chief Srinivasan and bon Maharastra Cricket Association (MCA) Pawar, Manohar once again reiterated that he will never work with Srinivasan.
Confirming the meeting at Jaitley's residence, a top BCCI official on condition of anonymity told PTI that "there was a meeting that took place at Mr Jaitley's residence. Manohar and Shirke spoke at length about the current situation of BCCI with Mr Jaitley.Thakur was also present".
This new development, in all its effectiveness, not only nip the reported Pawar-Sirinivasan alliance in the bud, but also able to somehow restore the integrity in the BCCI ranks. Manohar, who was the president of the board from 2008-11, us often credited as the 'best president BCCI ever had'. And despite keeping his anti-Srinivasan stand on the the Indian Premier League (IPL) scandal of 2013, the Nagpur-born lawyer was credited for suspending a Lalit Modi for his misdemeanors.
The report in CNN-IBN further suggested that an official announcement, making the former Vidharba Cricket Association president a candidate for the BCCI's top post is expected within 48 hours.
In between, it's worth mentioning that Manohar is reluctant to return as the boss of BCCI, but is ready to help the board restore its image.
The BCCI official told PTI, "Manohar has always maintained that he has played his innings as BCCI top boss. He does not wish to come back again but is ready to help the BCCI restore its faith among stakeholders. He has made it clear that he is not at all in favour of a Pawar-Srinivasan alliance."
The report also claimed that Thakur's name was also considered as a possible candidate, but both Jaitley and Manohar wanted the BJP MP to continue doing the commendable job in his current responsibilities as the BCCI chairman.
And this is a bad news for the International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman Srinivasan, as the BCCI power struggle seemed to have thrown in another prospective, hugely popular candidate in Manohar. IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, Pawar himself and Amitabh Choudhary of Jharkhand are other possible candidates for the presidents post, while Jaitley donning that king-maker's role. In the present scenario, the candidate who has the backing of Jaitley and Thakur, and in extra-ordinary circumstances Pawar is likely to win any BCCI election.
Anurag Thakur is supposed to call a Special General Meeting (SGM) to take a call on the issue of finding the next president, interim or elected. The new president will need a proposer and seconder from the East Zone, whose turn it is to field the BCCI chief.