While former captain Sourav Ganguly has emerged as the consensus candidate to be BCCI’s new president, according to PTI, Union home minister Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah will be the new secretary. The news of junior Shah’s likely appointment has raised some eyebrows, with people on Twitter questioning his credentials.
Jay Shah is not the only person with an influential political connection to take office at the BCCI.
Arun Dhumal, who will be the new treasurer, according to the PTI report, is the younger brother of MoS Finance and former BCCI president Anurag Thakur.
Monday is the last day to file nominations but no elections will be held. All the candidates emerged unopposed after weeks of lobbying and hectic parleys, the report added.
Ganguly, who is the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, will have to go into a compulsory cooling off period and demit his post in September 2020.
Jay Shah, according to The Print, will have almost a similar length of tenure. He has served as an office-bearer of the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA).
Twitter users are unable to decide how Jay Shah’s experience merited this post.
Does Jay Shah have any cricket connections?
Jay Shah used to train under former Gujarat coach Jayendra Sehgal, according to a 2015 report in Ahmedabad Mirror published after he was named on two powerful BCCI committees. While the report said that Jay Shah’s appointment as joint secretary of the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) in 2013 “raised a few eyebrows”, Sehgal called him a “decent enough batsman”.
He will represent the Gujarat Cricket Association at the BCCI AGM on 23 October. Both Jay Shah and his father, who was president of the GCA, stepped down from their posts last month.
In October 2017, Priyansh wrote for The Wire that the two Shahs staying at the helm of the GCA despite a July 2016 Supreme Court order on a mandatory “cooling-off period” went against “norms that are meant to cleanse cricketing bodies of the powerful cliques that have run them for years”. Jay Shah has “ridden the wave of his father’s dominance”, and his elevation to GCA in 2013 was smooth and the decision unchallenged, he added.
Jay Shah was also part of the seven-member committee to analyse some contentious Lodha panel reforms which the state units were opposed to in 2017. The Wire report added that “Jay Shah’s place in the panel is a result of the Shah dynasty’s dominance in the Gujarat cricket scene”.
Priyansh further wrote:
The Shahs derive their political strength at the GCA from their control of two-third votes at the Central Board of Cricket Ahmedabad (CBCA), the strongest district affiliate of the state body.
Twitter users are also calling out the dynasty politics, which Amit Shah has often criticised opposition parties for.
Jay Shah’s is not the only case when the son of a politician has been able to get a powerful position in influential, cash-rich BCCI. Last month, Dhumal was elected president of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) unopposed.
His brother, Anurag Thakur took over the HPCA in 2000 and headed the state selection committee. In 2014, Sruthijith KK (formerly HuffPost India editor) wrote for The Economic Times that Thakur made his Ranji debut in 2000, playing “a lacklustre innings, getting out for a duck after spending seven minutes at the crease, facing seven balls”.
The report pointed out that not only was this likely the first time in the Ranji’s history that a debuting player captained a state team, it was also probably the only instance when the chairman of a state selection committee had selected himself to the team.
The report also quoted a former HPCA official as saying that Thakur “had neither appeared in selection trials nor played in inter-district matches—prerequisites to be eligible for a state cap”.
His father Prem Kumar Dhumal was the chief minister of Himachal at the time.
The next year, The Economic Times further noted, Thakur, who was now eligible, having played a Ranji match, nominated himself when it was Himachal’s turn to nominate a national selector in a meeting of the BCCI.
Scions of politicians have often taken up posts in cricket associations. Vaibhav Gehlot, son of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, was appointed the new President of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) this month. He made his entry into cricket administration after being elected as treasurer of Rajsamand District Cricket Association, according to PTI.
(With PTI inputs)