New board chief wants India to be No. 1 in all forms of cricket

NEW DELHI • Making India the top team in all formats of the game will be the priority for new president Anurag Thakur, the 41-year-old said after taking charge of the world's richest cricket board yesterday.

The top Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) job, often called the most powerful position in cricket because of India's financial muscle in the sport, has been vacant since Shashank Manohar resigned this month to take over as chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The BCCI elected one of its youngest-ever presidents in a meeting in Mumbai where the parliamentarian representing India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was the lone candidate for the post.

"Currently our team are No. 2 in Tests and T20 and No. 4 in ODIs and in women's cricket," Thakur told reporters. "We will take whatever step is possible to make India No. 1 in all four."

Since this year's World Twenty20 on home soil, the Indian team have been without a coach.

Thakur said the board would advertise the post and shortlist the applicants after June 10.

Often led by seasoned administrators, the BCCI is perceived as an efficient but opaque body run by industrialists and politicians.

Thakur said he was lucky to have learnt from three BCCI chiefs - Jagmohan Dalmiya, Narayanswami Srinivasan and Manohar - who all also headed the ICC. He takes charge at a time when the board is under pressure from India's top court to bring about change.

"We have introduced many reforms in the last 15 months... We will further strengthen it," he said. "Transparency, accountability and professionalism will be part of BCCI's working.

"Nobody is perfect. Wherever there are issues, we'd try and rectify that. As the custodian of the country's most popular sport, we're aware of our responsibilities and we'll fulfil our duties."

The board has earmarked one billion Indian rupees (S$20.5 million) for a "green initiative" for new and existing stadiums, Thakur said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2016, with the headline 'New board chief wants India to be No. 1 in all forms of cricket'. Print Edition | Subscribe