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  Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 13:12 GMT
Dalmiya pulls no punches
Jagmohan Dalmiya is a controversial force in world cricket
BBC Sport Online takes a look at the tough-talking that has surrounded Indian cricket following the election of Jagmohan Dalmiya as president just two months ago.

No sooner had Jagmohan Dalmiya returned to the halls of the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) than India began to punch its weight in international cricket again.

Dalmiya, 62, made a resounding comeback into cricket administration by defeating incumbent president Dr A.C. Muthiah 17-13 in a bitterly contested contest at the end of September.

As head of the Cricket Association of Bengal, he was in line for election as president next year anyway, but he was not prepared to wait another 12 months.

The election meant that he would also take a place on the International Cricket Council executive board.

One highly-placed ICC official was reported as saying: "The fox is back in the hen-coop."

But those who have followed the career of the Calcutta businessman in cricketing politics were unsurprised by the coup.

Television rights

As International Cricket Council president from 1997 to 2000, and previously as BCCI secretary, Dalmiya cut a formidable figure, although his reign at the ICC ended under a cloud.

With match-fixing allegations beginning to break, he had his home and business premises raided by income tax officials and had his role in the allocation of television rights questioned.

He is the subject of an ongoing inquiry by India's Central Bureau of Investigation.

But he made it obvious during his tenture that he would fight for, and generally get, exactly what he wanted.

Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and coach John Wright
Dalmiya distanced himself from Wright (right)
No sooner had Dalmiya taken his seat at the BCCI than he began to question the regime of his predecessor.

New Zealander John Wright had been a controversial, and expensive, appointment as coach of the national team, at the behest of Muthiah.

Wright's side had defeated Australia at home but reverted to mediocrity on tour in Zimbabwe and later South Africa.

One of Dalmiya's first pronouncements was to distance himself from the Wright regime.

He said that he had been in touch with the coach, on tour in South Africa, to ask him to explain the reasons behind the side's poor performances.

English about-turn

But, as his ICC presidency showed, Dalmiya's tough talking is best reserved for the traditional bastions of world cricket.

On 15 October, England and Wales Cricket Board chief Lord MacLaurin declared that, unless the security situation in the subcontinent improved dramatically, England's tour to India would be called off.

Englan dcricket chief Lord Maclaurin
Maclaurin had an about turn in Kuala Lumpur
Two days later, after a discussion in Kuala Lumpur with Dalmiya, the tour was back on again, and MacLaurin was left trying to convince his players of the sincerity of the u-turn.

MacLaurin was thought to have been threatened a potentially bankrupting withdrawal of India from next year's reciprocal tour.

Bickering between the two nations has continued through the tour, with Dalmiya threatening to cut India's tour programme in England if the tourists do not agree to more one-day matches in January.

'No compromise'

Then came the Mike Denness incident. Back home, India was outraged by the decision of the match referee and demanded that both he and his punishments be withdrawn.

A face-saving measure was the obvious solution, but Dalmiya, as always, was adamant.

"There will be no compromise," he said.

But, whatever side of the divide you stand - and with Dalmiya there often seems to be a divide - few will argue that he has not been good for cricket, especially in Asia.

As ICC boss, he challenged the dominance of the elder Test nations, and their methods, increasing the number of lucrative one-day tournaments being held around the world.

Former ICC president Dalmiya
Dalmiya has a no-nonsence approach
He was the man behind the ICC Knockout Trophy, which brings all of the Test-playing nations together every two years to raise funds for the governing body's development programme.

As chairman of the Asian Cricket Federation he increased the influence which India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka had on world issues.

His position is at odds with the traditional emphasis on Test cricket, and his perspective differs from that of the old guard, so he will never be short of enemies.

But it is his individual approach and forthright style that makes hackles raise on a personal level when Dalmiya is involved in negotiations.

Referee Mike Denness' decisions outraged the Indian authorities Cricket row
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How it started

Major players
See also:

29 Sep 01 | Cricket
20 Jul 01 | Corruption in Cricket
31 May 01 | Corruption in Cricket
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