BCCI gets chief after 4 months

Agence France Presse

Kolkata, January 27:

Ranbir Singh Mahendra finally took over as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday, four months after he won a contentious election to the country’s richest sports body. The 57-year-old lawyer from the nothern state of Haryana had defeated political heavyweight Sharad Pawar 16-15 in the BCCI election held on September 29, thanks to outgoing president Jagmohan Dalmiya’s casting vote.

The election was challenged by Pawar’s supporters in India’s Supreme Court, which ruled in favour of Mahendra earlier this month and ordered the BCCI to call a general body meeting to ratify his appointment. Dalmiya, one of India’s best-known sports administrators who once headed the International Cricket Council (ICC), had led the BCCI in the interim till Thursday’s meeting. However, an earlier decision to make Dalmiya the BCCI’s first patron-in-chief and also India’s representative on the ICC, which had also been challenged in a lower court in Chennai, was put on hold pending the court’s verdict.

Mahendra’s immediate task will be to organise next month’s high-profile tour by Pakistan for three Tests and five one-day internationals. It will be Pakistan’s first tour of India since 1999 and follows India’s visit in March-April, 2004 for their first Test series on Pakistan soil in 15 years.