Mumbai: Lawyer-turned-administrator Shashank Manohar was on Sunday elected unopposed as the BCCI President for a second time after a gap of four years and vowed to clean up the mess in the Cricket Board by announcing a slew of reforms to restore the credibility of the game.
The 58-year-old, who began his second stint as President after being elected to the post at the Special General Body meeting, said his top priority is to restore the battered image of the Board and sought two months' time to put the house in order.
The reforms announced by Manohar included the appointment of an ombudsman to deal with contentious issues like conflict of interest.
Laying down his roadmap for the Board, Manohar also announced several other important decisions which included central contracts of women cricketers, common auditor to monitor expenses of all the state units and putting BCCI's balance sheet on the Board website to promote transparency.
Among other issues, Manohar also rejected speculation that the change of guard in the BCCI would lead to hostility towards N Srinivasan, who is currently the ICC President.
"We are not working here with a vindictive attitude. The entire Board, all 30 members including the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (headed by Srinivasan who did not attend today's Special General Meeting) when we informally discussed, was united that all of us have to work together to build the image of this Board and that we don't fight among ourselves and we don't have any vindictive attitude when we decide on matters," said Manohar.
"I can tell you Srinivasan was an excellent secretary, he was better than most of the secretaries I have come across in the Board. He was one of the best secretaries to have as I found out during my (2008-09 to 2010-11) tenure. I don't know what happened after I completed my term in 2011. I was not in touch. Srinivasan was by far the best secretary after Mr (Jagmohan) Dalmiya," he added.
Manohar, who was elected unopposed at the Board's Special General Meeting here, said he also wants to have discussions with central government authorities to find out whether an investigating agency can be attached to the BCCI.
The move has been planned as the BCCI does not have investigating powers on matters of corruption.
"BCCI has become a huge brand due to the love of the fans and the cricket loving population of this country. Confidence of the fans has been shaken due to certain unpleasant things that have happened. It is the duty of all the representatives of the Board to bring the Board back to its original reputation," Manohar told mediapersons during his first media interaction.
"I am asking you to give me two months' time, I have two years in office," he added.
Among the reforms that Manohar plans to implement for the smooth-functioning of the Board, the appointment of Ethics Officer is top-most on his agenda.
"BCCI had formed regulation for players, coaches and staff. We are planning to have an Ombudsman or an Ethics Officer independent of the Board who can look into the complaints regarding Conflict of Interest.
"Secondly, we need to lay down the norms and measures to prevent corruption in the games. We will have more programmes to educate players," he said.
"I will discuss this with our Secretary (Anurag Thakur) as to whether we can have discussions with the Central Government in order to find out whether we can have a tie-up with investigative agencies as BCCI does not have investigative powers. This will help restore the faith of the fans in the game," said Manohar, stressing on the perception that has been created about BCCI.
The Vidarbha lawyer also spoke about bringing more transparency in the functioning of state units where an independent auditor would check their expenses as to how they are spending the BCCI grant.
On monitoring state units' expenses, Manohar said: "The associations are paid huge money by the BCCI to spend on cricketing or other activities. Their accounts are audited by auditors appointed by state associations. But I would like to have a system where Board appoints an auditor independent of state associations. Once their accounts are audited, they would get full money.
"BCCI is empowered to check whether the money is being properly utilised or not."
According to Manohar, the BCCI would also do its bit to encourage transparency by uploading the Board's constitution and expenditures on its official website, www.Bcci.Tv.
"We can put the board's Constitution and rules on the website. Any expenditure over and above Rs 25 lakh should also be put up on the website. We can also upload the Board's balance sheet at the end of the year so that it is available for the public to study at large. The perception in the minds of the people is that since information does not come, there is something wrong in the Board," the Vidarbha-based lawyer said.
Manohar also advocated that the National Cricket Academy should once again start being the Centre of Excellence rather than being a rehabilitation centre.
"We would want NCA to function throughout the year. There are no good spinners available in the country. We want NCA to be a centre which can produce replacement for the available lot when required."
While the BCCI finance committee had already passed a resolution of having women cricketers under central contracts system, Manohar reiterated the BCCI's position on the issue.
"The BCCI will have central contracts for women cricketers. This will encourage more and more women to take up the sport in future."
The President said that all the past records of BCCI will be available at its headquarters and any member of the state units can read the reports.
Manohar also said that BCCI's focus will be on having a smoothly-conducted ICC World Twenty20 Championships in India in the "best possible manner".
He also said that he won't like to cast his President's vote in case of elections till the constitution is amended.
A BCCI President in case of election can have three votes -- his state association's vote, president's vote and casting vote -- all three that Dalmiya used to help Ranbir Singh Mahendra beat Sharad Pawar during the 2004 elections.
"I am okay with the casting vote but I am not in favour of exercising the chairman (President's)'s vote till the constitution is amended."