New Delhi: Recalling one of his many meetings with Jagmohan Dalmiya, former Australian captain Ian Chappell today paid a rich tribute to the late BCCI President, saying he was a "rarity among administrators and that history should judje him kindly".
Dalmiya, who passed away after a cardiac arrest in a city hospital in Kolkata at the age of 75 last night, was cremated today. Chappell took a walk down memory lane, remembering the heydays of the visionary administrator.
"To me Jaggu was a rarity amongst administrators because he genuinely wanted to listen to the opinions of former players. I felt he also wanted to have former players involved in the real, hard, decision-making process of administration," Chappell was quoted as saying by 'ESPNcricinfo'.
"I think he was an Indian administrator who stood firm at a time when the English and Australian administrators were used to getting their own way. And I think that's why he copped a lot of criticism from those two areas because he wasn't one who just bowed down and rolled over.
"I think if Jaggu had stayed on a bit longer as ICC president, I'm sure today there would be a World Test Championship," the cricketer-turned-analyst opined.
Chappell believes that history should judge Dalmiya very kindly.
"I think history should judge Jaggu very kindly. I think he did a hell of a lot for the game. Not just the financial side, he cared about the game. He had some very good ideas. He was also very keen on having ex-players, who were mentors, getting (them as) a group together to promote cricket in many different parts of the world.
"And once Jaggu moved on from the presidency, those ideas just seemed to disappear. I hope that he's remembered for a lot of that work."
Chappell fondly remembered his first meeting with Dalmiya, when the powerful administrator advised the Australian to take a round of Salt Lake Stadium in a motorcade.
"I'll never forget the first time I met Jaggu. We were in Calcutta in the lead-up to the 1996 World Cup. I was there as an ex-captain, we did a thing inside Salt Lake Stadium and he said we've got a motorcade going back. I asked him if it'll be worth doing it and he said 'Ian, it'll be one of the great experiences of your life'.
"I went on that motorcade and I had never seen so many people in my life. And so many happy people, throwing flower petals, waving, smiling," recalled Chappell.