Ganguly fears for Indian cricket amid #MeToo row


NEW DELHI: Former captain Sourav Ganguly expressed his “deep sense of fear” about the running of Indian cricket as he slammed the sloppy handling of #MeToo allegations against board chief executive Rahul Johri, among other key issues.

Johri was accused of sexual harassment on October 12 in an account shared by author Harnidh Kaur on Twitter, and the board´s administrative committee gave him a week to explain.

However, the Supreme Court-appointed committee is divided on the issue, with its two members arguing over the course of action against Johri.

Ganguly, who heads Bengal’s state cricket association, criticised the functioning of the national board, the richest and most powerful cricket body in the world.

“I write this mail to you all with the deep sense of fear as to where Indian cricket administration is going,” Ganguly wrote to BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary, president CK Khanna and treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary, in a letter seen by AFP.

“I don’t know how far it’s true, but the recent reports of harassment has really made the BCCI look very poorly… more so the way it has been handled,” he said.

Ganguly, 46, also criticised the board over last year’s appointment of national coach Ravi Shastri, after a selection process that sidelined his predecessor, Anil Kumble.

Ganguly, who was part of the advisory panel involved in the selection, along with Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, had recommended Kumble’s extension after the spin legend was given the job in June 2016.

But Kumble decided to resign, citing his “untenable” relationship with skipper Virat Kohli.

“My experience in the matter of coach selection was appalling (the less said the better),” Ganguly said.

“Indian cricket with its massive following has been built over the years of hard work from superb administrators and greatest of cricketers who have managed to bring thousands of fans to the ground… I at the present moment think it’s in danger.”

The BCCI plunged into crisis in January 2017 when Supreme Court judges ordered the dismissal of president Anurag Thakur over the failure to enact a series of recommended reforms.

Cricket’s massive popularity in India has helped the BCCI become by far the wealthiest of all of the sport’s national boards, netting massive money from sponsorship and TV deals.

But it has also been embroiled in a series of scandals, including accusations of corruption and match-fixing that tarnished the Indian Premier League (IPL) — the board’s lucrative T20 competition.