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Home / Industry / Media /  Shashank Manohar steps down as BCCI president

New Delhi: Shashank Manohar has stepped down as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and from the chairmanship of the International Cricket Council (ICC) to contest the election for the post of chairman of the world cricket body, a position which can now only be held by an independent candidate.

Manohar held the post of ICC chairman since November last year as a nominated member, when he replaced N. Srinivasan. BCCI confirmed Manohar’s resignation in a press statement. A senior BCCI official, who declined to be identified, said that Manohar chose to do so to further his ambitions within the ICC.

This wasn’t a completely unexpected development. Last month, Mint reported that Manohar’s move to resign from the BCCI was necessitated by the ICC during its board and committee meetings, where it sought to re-establish the post of an independent chairman through an election process.

It also effected a change in the rules, which mandated that “the elected independent chairman will not be allowed to hold any national or provincial position with any member board".

The election of the ICC chairman will be held later this month through a secret ballot. All present and past ICC directors will be eligible to contest the election. From India, these include Manohar, Sharad Pawar and Srinivasan.

However, the rules also state that “candidates can only be nominated by a fellow director who, in turn, will be allowed to provide no more than one nominee. Any nominee with the support of at least two full-member ICC directors will be put forward as a candidate for election".

Manohar is said to enjoy wide support within the ICC, especially after his decision to do away with the “Big Three" proposal introduced by the Srinivasan-led regime that effectively gave the BCCI, Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) a greater say within the ICC, and a larger share of its revenue.

In January this year, the Manohar-led ICC announced a “complete review of the 2014 resolutions and constitutional changes". He said at the time that no member of the ICC is “bigger than the other" and that he was determined to “make a meaningful contribution in this regard".

Manohar’s move to roll back the Big Three proposal will see India give up roughly 6% of its 22% share of ICC revenue.

The BCCI now has 15 days to elect its new president, via a special general body meeting. According to Rule 15(v) of the BCCI’s constitution, “In case of vacancy occurring in the office of president by reason of death or by him being adjudged insolvent or by him being convicted in a criminal case by a competent court or by resignation or otherwise, the honorary secretary shall within 15 days convene a special general body meeting to elect the president who shall be nominated by at least one full member from the zone which proposed the name of the president whose term was cut short prematurely. Such person who is so elected shall hold office till the next elections."

The power dynamics within the BCCI currently favour a candidate from the ruling dispensation or the Anurag Thakur-Sharad Pawar alliance. Manohar’s likely replacements, according to those in the know, include Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament and Andhra Cricket Association chief Gokaraju Ganga Raju, Mumbai Cricket Association president Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Cricket Association president Ajay Shirke and BCCI vice-president and Indian Premier League chairman Rajeev Shukla.

Congress MP from Guna and Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association president Jyotiraditya Scindia could also emerge as a consensus candidate, given his proximity to both Thakur and Pawar.

However, age could go against 75-year-old Pawar, especially with the Supreme Court coming down hard on the BCCI for its objection to the R.M. Lodha Committee’s recommendations, which called for a cap of 70 years for cricket administrators.

Last month, during arguments over the recommendations, the Supreme Court told BCCI lawyer K.K. Venugopal, “Lawyers like you (Venugopal) get better with age, is that so with cricketers too? I don’t know. We feel 70 is a good age for retirement. At 70, they should sit at home and watch cricket on TV."

BCCI has strongly resisted implementing the Lodha panel’s retirement age recommendation, as well as the one on “one state, one member, one vote".

Implementing the latter would mean only cricketing bodies representing a state would have full membership and voting rights in the BCCI.

“Some of our members are cricketing bodies formed by princely states. Voting rights of these members cannot be taken away," Venugopal argued in court. The apex court has been hearing the case for four hours every week for over two months now.

It had set up the three-member committee headed by the former chief justice of India on 22 January 2014 to probe BCCI’s functioning after allegations of betting and spot-fixing surfaced in the Indian Premier League.

Apurva Vishwanath contributed to this story.

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