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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 February 2006, 00:01 GMT
India's iron man
By Oliver Brett

Jagmohan Dalmiya, the former head of Indian cricket at the centre of allegations over his handling of funds, has never shirked the limelight.

J Dalmiya
Dalmiya was India's strong man

Now aged 65, he has exerted considerable influence over the sport since he joined the Board of Control for Cricket in India in 1979.

He became BCCI treasurer in 1983 and was a key figure in helping win the right to stage the World Cup in South Asia in 1987 and 1996.

Dalmiya was unanimously elected chairman of the International Cricket Council in 1997 for a period of three years, forming the Anti-Corruption Unit during his reign.

Disappointed by its failure to root out match-fixing, Dalmiya returned to the BCCI where he was elected president in 2001.

From that point, to the moment last November when he was ousted as BCCI patron by a new regime, some regarded the son of a wealthy Calcutta businessman as an outright nuisance.

In late 2001, he effectively forced former England captain Mike Denness out of his position as an ICC match referee.

Denness had provoked uproar by sanctioning six Indian players following a Test in South Africa.

One of them, Virender Sehwag, was told to serve a ban, but Dalmiya refused to recognise it and repeatedly stalled any attempt by the ICC to investigate the sorry saga.

The international body was too strong, especially when the money was coming from Asia, and Dalmiya fought for his rights
Pradeep Vijayakar
Times of India

In early 2003, Dalmiya squared up to the ICC again over the issue of players' personal image rights, which the global body likes to "own" when it comes to the big international tournaments.

He insisted India would have to be allowed to play in the World Cup whether or not the players' individual endorsements conflicted with the ICC's own sponsors - and again the conflict was never satisfactorily resolved.

But Pradeep Vijayakar, cricket correspondent of the Times of India, once told BBC World Service that the image of Dalmiya as a trouble-maker was a misconception.

"There was a time when he had to do what he did," Vijayakar said.

"The international body was too strong, especially when the money was coming from Asia, and Dalmiya fought for his rights."

The financial issue is crucial. Without the blessing of India, the ICC cannot begin to run cricket on a global platform.

That is because so much of the cash which allows the sport to be professional comes from India. Only last Friday, the BCCI sold global broadcast rights for the next four years for a record sum of 352m.

The man currently running the BCCI, Sharad Pawar, has inherited much of his predecessor's single-minded attitude when dealing with the ICC.

Whether on the issue of World Cup staging agreements, the Future Tours Programme - which determines each Test nation's playing schedule - or simply its blunt indifference to a Twenty20 World Cup - the BCCI continues to vex the ICC.

Compared to India, other countries - notably England, who meekly agreed to tour Zimbabwe 15 months ago in the face of vehement opposition - are often too quick to accept what the ICC lays down.

But India will continue to try to erode the centralised power of the game's governing body to make cricket follow a more Asian agenda.

And that, in a nutshell, is the main legacy of Dalmiya.


SEE ALSO
New India role for Dalmiya
12 Sep 04 |  Cricket
Tour impasse upsets Dalmiya
08 Jun 04 |  Cricket
Dalmiya gets third stint
27 Sep 03 |  Cricket
Dalmiya: ICC can't stop us now
11 Jan 03 |  Cricket
India reject Denness panel
12 Jan 02 |  Cricket
Sehwag saga hots up
26 Nov 01 |  England on Tour


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