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Dalmiya brought equal representation

in ICC: Sumathipala

14th November 2017
Sri Lanka Cricket board chief Thilanga Sumathipala called Jagmohan Dalmia a leader who had the magic wand to forge unity under the most disturbing and discordant circumstances.
“As a tribute to Jagu , to all his commitments from which we have learnt so much, I can say when we are united when we are together if our common objectives are clear we can achieve a lot. But if we are divided we don't have a common plan, we will fail. We don't know which direction we are going we do something in the morning, discuss something different in the afternoon walk on roads in different directions in the night. So I strongly believe as a close associate of him, what I have learnt from him what I have got to know from him is unparalleled to any administration to any sports in this world. He was truly a genuine leader and I don't think we have taken the true potential out of him or made enough out of Jagu,” Sumathipala, moved and passion filled, said at the opening lecture of the inaugural Jagmohan Dalmiya Memorial Conclave.
He recounted how in 1995 he first met Jagmohan Dalmiya as part of the PILCOM management to conduct the 1996 World Cup. Dalmiya was the convenor secretary as he was the CEO of the ICC tournament committee in charge of umpires, match referees and tournament rules.
“I remember how Sri Lankan cricket board at that time was interacting with him after the unfortunate bombing of the Central Bank in Colombo on January 31, 1996. Australia and West Indies decided not to come and they had their reasons but then Zimbabwe, Kenya and other countries willing to go but there was no evidence of security improving. So we had the meeting in this very building in Calcutta. We walked into this hotel this historic place and it was decided we play it in the ICC and then the PILCOM,” he said.
“Jagu had the energy to negotiate various difficult situations. We decided to play a match to show the security standard of Sri Lanka. India and Pakistan came forward and said we will form a combined team. And then we had other Wasim Akram. They never played together. The question was who would be the captain. Jagu took about 5 mins and asked Wasim who was in charge...he said i am... he said okay you manage the team and India will captain under you. Managing the team is the most important thing.Thats how he negotiated. We had the Wills World Cup,” he continued.
“Now Wills said how can that happen he said the team is Wills XI will never ever get another side with India and Pakistan players wearing the same jersey. In fact it’s good for you. You should pay me more. The way jagu negotiated was wonderful. The negotiations with sponsors, managing of teams looking at the dynamics of various obligations. Jagu was born with that leadership to understand the other side without hearing them. Walk into the room and settle to the best interest of everyone,” he said.
But perhaps his biggest achievement was giving equality status to all member countries of ICC and dissolving the veto powers of England and Australia. “You should be so proud of him. He made the path for other Asian country presidents to head ICC. He fought through that veto power with incorporation of ICC. Without him cricket today would not be what it is today,” he said.
“We were representing ACC. Jagu was the secretary of BCCI...people were unhappy with injustice inequality various ways of treating nations we looked at that time. At ACC we asked why don’t you come out and speak against it. He said i have to see whether Mr I S Bndra wanted to have a go. Bindra said Jagu has the skill appetite to represent us and we decided to back him. He was our candidate in 1996...we went ahead and got everyone to support and the result was 23--17... Jagu got 23 against Malcom Grain of Australia...we got a note saying he has won but can’t be the president. Any democratic process the majority will be elected. But here there were issues of full members and veto power of Australia and England. That was the situation. Jagu could not be the president. We saw the constitution, went to Malaysia incorporated ICC for the first time. And it gave all countries to represent with equality in 1997... Jagu stood again... no one wanted to contest him... he became the first icc incorporated board’s president,” a proud Sumathipala said with the smile of a man who had witnessed history.

Arindam Basu