Will BCCI quiz president Sourav Ganguly on his brand deals?

Thursday’s annual general meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) could be stormy if members air discomfiture over president Sourav Ganguly’s brand endorsements, some of which are in direct competition with the Indian board. With BCCI’s sponsors raising no objections, the question before Ganguly may not be legal, but an ethical one.

Former India captain Ganguly was on familiar turf on Wednesday leading a team of board officials in a friendly game of cricket at the newly refurbished Motera stadium in Ahmedabad. Board members were not willing to commit whether questions about Ganguly would be asked in the meeting. “If anyone raises the issue in the meeting, Ganguly has a line of defence ready,” said a state unit official close to the president.

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That apart, selection to three posts will be ratified: a BCCI vice-president and two members of the IPL governing council. Rajiv Shukla will return as vice-president and Brijesh Patel will continue as IPL chairman. The BCCI’s players’ body has appointed former spinner Pragyan Ojha to replace Surinder Khanna as their representative in the governing council.

Also on the agenda is the “inclusion of 2 (two) new teams to the Indian Premier League.” The proposal is likely to be passed unanimously paving the way for a bigger IPL. But there is little time for tenders to be floated for new teams before IPL 14 next year.

BCCI officials must also update members on talks with the government on the sticky issue of tax exemption for hosting ICC events. ICC has given time till December 31 failing which the 2021 T20 World Cup could move out of India to UAE unless BCCI compensated the world body. On Wednesday, board officials said they were confident that “a middle ground will be found.” Greg Barclay, the new ICC chair, is known to get along well with BCCI.

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BCCI also has to inform ICC on its stance on cricket’s inclusion in 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. BCCI’s legal team is working on how to circumvent coming under the sports ministry if BCCI is to join the Olympic movement.

Agarkar frontrunner

Former fast bowler Ajit Agarkar is the frontrunner to bag the selector’s berth from West Zone and being the most capped Test cricketer’ (26 Tests and 191 ODIs) could be the next chairman of selectors.

The Cricket Advisory committee (CAC), led by Madan Lal, will interview candidates virtually on Thursday, to fill the three vacancies in the senior selection committee. Sunil Joshi is currently the chairman having played 15 Tests. Harvinder Singh is the other selector from Central Zone.

Apart from Agarkar, former seamer Abey Kuruvilla has applied from West. From the North Zone, Chetan Sharma and Maninder Singh have applied and East has three candidates in Shiv Sunder Das, Debashish Mohanty and Ranadeb Bose.

Jatin Paranjpe (West), Devang Gandhi (East) and Sarandeep Singh (North) have completed their terms. The new committee will pick India’s team for the Tests at home against England beginning on February 5.

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