Shashank Manohar, who on Sunday took over as the 36th president of the BCCI, is known for his integrity and regains control of the country’s richest sporting body at a time when cricket’s image has been tarnished by the spot-fixing scandal and intense factionalism.
The reticent 58-year-old Nagpur-based lawyer in the past decade, has been known as someone, who bears a tough, no- nonsense attitude and at the same time is accommodating towards the needs of the players.
A shrewd tactician and someone who knows implications of any policy decision like the back of his hand, Manohar has been a trouble-shooter since 2005, when he became the vice- president and ‘Man-Friday’ to Sharad Pawar, who became the president that year.
Once he was through in 2011 with his first presidential tenure, Manohar stepped away from the limelight, rarely voicing his opinion on cricketing matters until the spot- fixing scandal broke in 2013.
From then, Manohar and N Srinivasan became adversaries with the former sticking to the principles that need to be followed urging the Tamil Nadu strongman to relinquish his post. Srinivasan, on his part, kept claiming that it was a case of pure vendetta.
That he stuck to his principals was proved when he made it clear that he is not in favour of Pawar aligning with Srinivasan in the presidential battle following the demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya.
In a Cricket Board riddled by scandals, factionalism, money-power and heavy politicking, the need of the hour was a man, whose image could restore the faith and credibility of the sporting body whose revenues runs into millions of dollars.
While mulling on a replacement for Dalmiya, the majority of the influential decision-makers in the BCCI including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley could come up with only one name that could be befitting to the stature of a body like the BCCI and that was Manohar.
Some of his ground-breaking decisions during his first tenure (2008-11) include suspension of erstwhile IPL commissioner Lalit Modi on allegations of financial irregularities, calling for fresh bids for new teams after allegations of rigging, and advising BCCI to encash the bank guarantee of Kochi Tuskers Kerala after they defaulted on franchisee fee.
It was in Manohar’s first presidential tenure that India regained ODI World Cup after 28 years and players were rewarded with a cash prize of Rs 2 crore each after it was decided that they would be given Rs 1 crore each.
When IPL spot-fixing scandal broke in 2013, it was Manohar, who was the original whistleblower as he demanded Srinivasan’s resignation urging him to take moral responsibility of his son-in-law’s actions.
Such has been his integrity that even Lalit Modi, who has been a constant thorn in the flesh for some of the BCCI bigwigs including Srinivasan with his twitter-tirade, could not find reasons to badmouth him on social networking sites.