Shashank Manohar resigned as the president of the Indian cricket board on Tuesday, as the embattled organization comes under growing pressure from the country’s top court to introduce wide-ranging reforms.
Manohar wrote to board secretary Anurag Thakur to announce his resignation “with immediate effect,” in a move expected to trigger his bid for re-election as chairman of the International Cricket Council. “The BCCI confirms that Mr. Shashank Manohar has resigned from the post of president, BCCI,” Thakur said in a statement. “He has also resigned as the BCCI representative on the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Asian Cricket Council. The BCCI places on record its deep appreciation of the immense contribution to Indian cricket made by Mr. Manohar.”
Manohar had only been in his post since October last year, when he returned for a second stint as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in the wake of the death of Jagmohan Dalmiya.
The 58-year-old lawyer had been widely regarded as a safe pair of hands who could bring some much needed stability to a board whose reputation has been tarnished by several scandals.
Manohar had pledged to clean up the board after being unanimously elected as head of what is the most powerful body in world cricket. After becoming BCCI president, Manohar swiftly moved to topple another of his predecessors, Narayanaswami Srinivasan, from the ICC chairmanship and reverse some of the recent rule changes that had been designed to give greater power to India, England and Australia.
Manohar had publicly blamed Srinivasan for bringing the BCCI into disrepute following a Supreme Court probe that found Srinivasan’s son-in-law guilty of corruption in the Indian Premier League.
Indian newspapers have been reporting for several days that Manohar would resign his post at the BCCI in order to stand for re-election as ICC head. Under reforms that Manohar had himself supported, it will soon no longer be possible to be chairman of the ICC and head up the national board of one of its member countries.
“I think it’s his personal decision to contest the ICC’s independent chairman position. The reasons why he stepped down only he can tell you,” former India captain Sunil Gavaskar told NDTV. “I think it will be terrific to have an Indian as the first ever independent chairman of the ICC,” Gavaskar added.
In the wake of the IPL corruption scandal, India’s Supreme Court commissioned retired judge Rajendra Mal Lodha to draw up a report on the BCCI’s governance in a bid to avoid future conflicts of interest.
The Lodha Committee recommended that the board introduce term and age limits for its office bearers and a ban on television adverts in between overs during live broadcasts. Its mega rights deals with Indian broadcasters, including for the IPL, have helped make the BCCI by far the wealthiest board in world cricket.
Many of the game’s smaller Test-playing nations have been accused of bending to India’s demands in the ICC, desperate to attract tours by India that can ensure their financial security.