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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 November 2005, 08:11 GMT
Pawar wins India board presidency
By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Calcutta

Sharad Pawar
Pawar will now lead world cricket's richest governing body

Federal government minister Sharad Pawar has been elected as president of India's Board of Control for Cricket.

Pawar ousted incumbent Ranbir Singh Mahendra by 20 votes to 11 to reverse the result of last year's election.

The outcome is a significant blow to BCCI patron Jagmohan Dalmiya, who used his casting vote for Mahendra after the 2004 election was tied.

"This is surely the end of an era in Indian cricket administration," said ex-Bengal cricketer Raju Mukherjee.

Dalmiya has been the most powerful man in Indian cricket for two decades but he appears isolated after the election of Pawar supporters in other key roles.

Niranjan Shah and MP Pandove will be secretary and joint secretary and N Srinivasan the next treasurer of world cricket's richest sporting body.

"I will do everything to give justice to the new generation of Indian cricket players and the country's millions of cricket lovers," Pawar told a news conference following the election at Calcutta's Taj Bengal Hotel.

"I will concentrate on developing cricket infrastructure, on developing a system that promotes talent , I will try to be fair to all regions and I expect full co-operation from those I have defeated in this election."

The Dalmiya camp responded by claiming Pawar had used his political position to influence the result of the election.

Jagmohan Dalmiya
Dalmiya must now consider his next move

"If you want to involve politicians in cricket affairs, then it is better to put the BCCI under government control. But I accept the verdict," Dalmiya commented.

"My good wishes are with the new team and if they require my support or cooperation in running the affairs of the BCCI, I will always be there."

Pawar, who first became involved in cricket in 2001 when he defeated former India captain Ajit Wadekar to become president of the Mumbai Cricket Association, said he knew "how to keep politics and cricket separate".

Farooq Abdullah, one of Pawar's closest supporters and former chief minister of Kashmir, promised a new transparency in the way Indian cricket is run.

And he also said they would be keen to work with Dalmiya an an attempt to end factionalism, adding: "We dont want Dalmiya to feel defeated, he has been a great administrator and we want his expertise and hope he will cooperate with us."

This year's election was supervised by the country's former election commissioner, T S Krishnamurthy, at the request of the Supreme Court.

"I thought this was a small election compared to India's parliamentary polls but there was a lot of work before the votes were counted," he commented.

The elections also resulted in major changes to the selection panel for the national team.

Pranob Roy, Yashpal Sharma and Gopal Sharma, believed to be the three men who lobbied for former captain Sourav Ganguly to be recalled to the squad for this week's first Test against Sri Lanka, have all lost their posts.

They have been replaced by Ranjib Biswal, Sanjay Jagdale and Bhupinder Singh, none of whom has played Test cricket, with former wicket-keeper Kiran More remaining as chief selector.


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