A man with the Midas touch

Written by: S K Sham
Published: Monday, June 12, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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He is to the administration of the game of cricket what Dhirubhai Ambani is to the corporate world. If you drop the flamboyance of the Australian-born TV tycoon, you will find in him another Kerry Packer, the man who revolutionised game.

We are talking about Jagmohan Dalmiya, who has combined the daring streaks of the names mentioned above and is yet a genius in his own right. I cannot think of any one who has enriched the game more, even as he has spread its influence wider.

A member of the Marwari community, Dalmiya would rather call himself a Bengali for all practical purposes. Having made the home pastures greener, he moved to the international scene, to serve the International Cricket Council, and, through it, those, whose voices were otherwise muted. And what a grand job he is done of that.

Even his worst detractors will grudgingly admit that Dalmiya has been the best thing to happen to international cricket just when the levels of the coffers all were getting alarmingly lower.

How else can you explain the fact that a game played internationally by just nine countries of the world most of the time, has been taken to the financial status that today matches the affluence of sports like tennis, soccer, golf and what have you.

Dalmiya leaves the post of the president of the International Cricket Council towards the end of the month after a momentous three-year term. When he quits he will have left the world body with plenty to fall back on and many times more to look forward to, financially speaking, despite the temporary distortion of the game's image on account of the ongoing betting and match-fixing controversy.

Jagmohan, who likes to be lovingly called "Jaggu" right from his office-boy to the big boys of cricket, has combined a rare business acumen with a kind of magic with figures to plan, budget, bid and conduct two of the biggest World Cups ever, on the subcontinent.

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