Manoharís clean-up act
Shashank Manohar, the new Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president, has made all the right noises at the start of his second term. He has promised a clean-up of the cricket board. The BCCI is run like a private club of kings and princes - it has remained untouched by a sense of public accountability and norms of good corporate governance. Because of this reason, the measures promised by Manohar seem nothing short of revolutionary. For instance, he's promised the appointment of an ombudsman or an independent ethics officer to resolve conflict-of-interest issues in the BCCI; he has said that the accounts of the various state associations will be independently audited before the BCCI releases more funds to them; he has also said that the BCCI will become more transparent and its annual balance sheet and every expenditure of over Rs 25 lakh will be made public.
Manohar's first term, from 2008 to 2011, was a tale of good intentions frustrated by the BCCI's mad pursuit of money and power. He was the BCCI president when several questionable steps were taken by it. This included the removal of an important BCCI rule that had previously prevented conflict of interest in the board. Manohar was the one voice of restraint in the BCCI while everyone else seemed intent on turning the board into an entity whose sole purpose was to make money.
After his term was over, Manohar retreated to his home and legal practice in Nagpur. He often voiced his opinions in strong words, especially when the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal broke out. Last year, when part of the IPL was played in the UAE, he had strongly opposed it, and advocated that the tournament should have been suspended. ďThe Board members should remind themselves that money or profit is neither the aim nor the objective of the Board,Ē he had said. His previous term was a personal failure, but these words, and the announcements he made yesterday, are very promising.