Former India cricketer and a 1983 World Cup winner, Roger Binny, was named the head of world’s richest cricketing body on Tuesday. Binny replaces Sourav Ganguly as the president of the BCCI. (More Cricket News)
It would seem that former players heading associations would be a common occurrence. But cricket administration, particularly in the Indian sub-continent, is a game of power and contacts. And thus, the man in charge often ends up being a politician or a businessman.
Binny’s elevation, whatever the compulsions and politics behind it, deserves to be celebrated by sports lovers. Here are some of those few former cricketers who have served as heads of cricket boards or occupied an executive role in some capacity.
In 2019, Ganguly became the first cricketer in 65 years to become the president of BCCI. The Maharaja of Vizianagaram was the first cricketer to serve as the head of the cricketing body. The Maharaj of Kolkata was no stranger to administration, serving as the head of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) from 2015 until 2019.
Though Ganguly’s exit from BCCI was dramatic, he did his bit for the Board in his three-year tenure.
Under his leadership, BCCI hosted India’s first pink-ball day and night Test at Eden Gardens in 2019. It was seen as an attempt to revitalize the oldest format of the game and make it exciting for millennials and Gen Z.
It was also during Ganguly’s tenure that the BCCI sold the IPL media rights for a record price – Rs 48,930 crore – for the period 2023-27.
The former cricketer and commentator serves as the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The 60-year-old won an unopposed election in 2021 and was elected for a term of three years. Raja is the fourth Pakistani cricketer to head the PCB, after Ijaz Butt, Javed Burki and Abdul Hafeez Kardar.
Raja served as the board’s chief executive in 2003 and 2004. One of his big successes has been bringing cricket back to Pakistani soil, with the country hosting Australia and England in a span of nine months. Pakistan also intends to host the 2023 Asia Cup, but BCCI secretary Jay Shah says India will not travel to Pakistan for any match.
Arjuna Ranatunga was the captain of the Sri Lankan cricket team that won the 1996 World Cup, and put the Lions on the world map. In 2008, following the resignation of Jayantha Dharamdasa, Ranatunga was appointed as the chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket administration.
Prior to this appointment, Ranatunga also ran for the vice-president’s post in 2015. He was part of Dharamdasa’s administration before resigning on the grounds of not being happy with the progress that the administration was making.
He only served as the chairman of Sri Lanka cricket board for six months during which he lashed out at BCCI for starting IPL, terming the tournament as “instant noodles”. He also blamed BCCI for causing financial losses to the Sri Lankan board, as England’s tour to Sri Lanka was postponed due to the IPL.
Ranatunga contested for the post of vice-president in 2019, but faced a heavy defeat, finishing third in the election.
Sir Donald Bradman
Sir Donald Bradman is regarded by many as the greatest batsman of all time. His Test average of 99.94 is recognized as the last word in batting dominance. Post his glorious career, Bradman entered cricket administration, after a brief stint in the stockbroking business.
In 1960, he was appointed as the chairman of the Australian board. During this stint, Bradman drew attention to the growing problem of illegal bowling actions. He also highlighted that it was a complex problem, as the correctness of bowling actions were not facts, but opinions that differed from person to person.
Bradman was elected as the head again in 1969 and was responsible for cancelling Australia’s tour to South Africa in 1971-72 as a revolt against South Africa’s racist selection policy (only white players were eligible to play in the cricket team). Nelson Mandela later went on to describe Bradman as a ‘hero’ for taking this stand.
Deborah Ann Hockley
Deborah Ann Hockley, popularly known as Debbie Hockley, is a pioneer. In 2016, the former New Zealand cricketer became the first woman to become president of New Zealand Cricket. In fact, she is the first female president of any full ICC member cricket association.
Hockley has an illustrious CV as a player. She played 19 Tests and 118 ODIs between 1997 and 2000. Owing to exceptional administrative work and support, Hockley was re-elected as the president in 2019 for a term of three years.