RIP

In photos: The journey of Jagmohan Dalmiya, architect of Indian cricket’s commercial rise

Quartz india
Quartz india

Jagmohan Dalmiya died doing what he loved best: Running Indian cricket.

The canny cricket administrator, who was re-elected president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in March 2015, passed away in Kolkata on Sept. 20, following a heart attack.

The former wicketkeeper began his innings at the BCCI in 1979, before taking office as its treasurer in 1983. Under his leadership, the BCCI became the game’s richest sporting body.

In 1987, he helped bring the cricket World Cup to the subcontinent for the first time. During these years, he also crafted a series of lucrative television deals—and set the foundation for transforming the gentleman’s game into the money-spinning spectacle that it is today.

Within a decade, he broke into cricket’s global arena, becoming president of the International Cricket Council (ICC)—the apex body for cricket globally—between 1997 and 2000.

But the downfall was even more swift.

In 2005, Dalmiya lost control of the BCCI to a faction led by India’s then agriculture minister, Sharad Pawar, who accused Dalmiya of corruption while conducting the 1996 cricket World Cup.

A decade later, amid allegations of more corruption at the BCCI under a different administrator, Jaggu da—as he was fondly called—made a remarkable comeback.

Here is a brief chronicle of the rise, fall and rise of Dalmiya.

1997-2000

In 1997, Dalmiya became the president of the ICC.

When Dalmiya took charge as the ICC president, according to some reports, the sporting body had a measly $37,000 in its coffers. By the time he left in 2000, it had $11 million. Much of that had to do with Dalmiya’s business acumen and marketing ability, which also remade Indian cricket.

It helped that Dalmiya always knew his way around money. The son of a Kolkata construction magnate, he’d joined the family business as a 19-year-old.

Writing in ESPN Cricinfo, Martin Williamson described the disruption that Dalmiya helmed:

The last vestiges of a gentler, more laid-back world disappeared with Dalmiya’s arrival. The Asian countries, for so long limited to a subservient role, now called the shots thanks to their massive commercial power, with Dalmiya leading the charge. They were in the driving seat and wasted no time in modernising the ICC and maximising its control of the lucrative World Cup.

Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar (C) with police escort pacifies spectators during the fourth day of the Asian test championship at Eden Gardens in Calcutta February 19. Angry cricket fans of 90,000 crowd hurled bottles and other missiles on to the Eden Gardens pitch after a controversial run out involving Tendulkar. Play stoppage lasted an hour and only resumed after Tendulkar, International Cricket Council president Jagmohan Dalmiya and Calcutta police went out to calm the crowd.
Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar (centre) and ICC president Jagmohan Dalmiya pacify spectators during the fourth day of the Asian test championship at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Feb. 19, 1999. A crowd of 90,000 angry cricket fans hurled bottles on to the Eden Gardens pitch after a controversial run out involving Tendulkar. (Reuters photographer)
Jagmohan Dalmiya (R), president of the International Cricket Council, waits with former Indian cricket captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi prior to the start of the Board of Control for Cricket meeting in New Delhi April 27. The meeting has been called to take stock of the situation in the aftermath of the betting and match-fixing scandal involving South African captain Hansie Cronje and his three team mates.
Dalmiya (right) waits with former Indian cricket captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi prior to the start of the BCCI meeting in New Delhi on April 27, 2000. The meeting was called to take stock of the situation in the aftermath of the betting and match-fixing scandal involving South African captain Hansie Cronje and his three team mates. (Reuters photographer)

2000-2004

After his tenure at the ICC, Dalmiya became the president of the BCCI in 2000. He held the position until 2004.

By then, the BCCI had become the game’s most powerful body. In 2001, when India was touring South Africa, ICC referee and former England captain Mike Denness found Sachin Tendulkar and five other Indian players guilty of a technical breach of rules.

Indian players were banned for one test even as the country protested. In the end, Tendulkar was let off and the following year ICC did not reappoint Denness as a match referee.

Writing for ESPN Cricinfo, this is how Dicky Rutnagur described Dalmiya’s role in the incident:

The tourists (Indian team) were mere bystanders, while war was waged on their behalf by Jagmohan Dalmiya, newly elected president of the Indian board and also a former president of the ICC. Dalmiya said that, at the ICC executive’s next meeting in March, he would press for the Centurion match to be retrospectively recognised as a Test (it was not) and demand a review of the penalties imposed by Denness.

Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, right, receives souvenir Cricket Bat from President of Cricket Board of India Jagmohan Dalmiya, left, while manager of the team Rajiv Shukla, background, looks on at Parliament House in New Delhi, India, July 22, 2002. The Indian team won the three nation series against United Kingdom and Sri Lanka.
Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, right, receives souvenir cricket bat from Jagmohan Dalmiya, left, while manager of the team Rajiv Shukla, background, looks on at Parliament House in New Delhi on July 22, 2002. (AP Photo/Ajit Kumar)
PRESIDENT OF INDIA'S NATIONAL CRICKET BOARD JAGMOHAN DALMIYA, SECRETARY
NIRANJAN SHAH AND SHARAD PAWAR POSE IN CALCUTTA.
India’s national cricket board president Jagmohan Dalmiya, secretary Niranjan Shah and Sharad Pawar pose in Kolkata on Sept. 18, 2002. (Reuters photographer)
INDIAN CRICKET BOARD PRESIDENT JAGMOHAN DALMIYA DISCUSSES THE SELECTION
OF THE NATION'S CRICKET TEAM IN CALCUTTA.
Indian cricket board president Jagmohan Dalmiya discusses the selection of the nation’s cricket team in Kolkata on Dec. 18, 2002. (Reuters photographer.)
Indian Cricket Board president Jagmohan Dalmiya (C) and other disciplinary board officials, Kamal Morarka (L) and Ranbir Singh speak after a news conference in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta June 2, 2004. Indian batsman Abhijit Kale was banned until the end of 2004 on Wednesday after being accused of trying to bribe his way into the national team. The 30-year-old Maharashtra player, a prolific scorer in domestic competitions and who has played one one-day international, was censured by the Indian board after two national selectors said he had approached them. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw JS/CP
Indian cricket board president Jagmohan Dalmiya (centre) and other disciplinary board officials, Kamal Morarka (left) and Ranbir Singh speak after a news conference in Kolkata on June 2, 2004. (Reuters/Jayanta Shaw JS/CP)
Arun Jaitley, right, former Law Minister of India and Member of Parliament, talks to Jagmohan Dalmiya, center, President of Board of Control for Cricket in India or BCCI and Rajiv Shukla, second from left, Member of Parliament on their way to attend the working committee meeting of BCCI in Calcutta, India, Monday, Aug. 16, 2004. The meeting was held to pass the audited account and fix agendas for the forthcoming Annual General Meeting of BCCI. Rest person are unidentified.(AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Arun Jaitley (right) former law minister of India, talks to Jagmohan Dalmiya (centre), president of the BCCI and Rajiv Shukla (second from left), member of Parliament, on their way to attend the working committee meeting of BCCI in Kolkata, India, on Aug. 16, 2004. The meeting was held to pass the audited account and fix agendas for the forthcoming annual general meeting of the BCCI. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President, Jagmohan Dalmiya, center, proceeds to meeting room, flanked by his men and private security persons at a hotel in Calcutta, India, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2004. Election for the BCCI takes place Wednesday (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Jagmohan Dalmiya, president of the BCCI, proceeds to meeting room, flanked by his men and private security persons at a hotel in Kolkata on Sept. 29, 2004. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

2005-2008

In 2005, Dalmiya was wrestled out of India’s cricketing board for close to a decade.

Much of that had to do with a rival faction winning the elections under Sharad Pawar, then India’s minister for agriculture. Dalmiya was accused of financial misappropriation by the new regime, which also forced him to resign as the chief of the Cricket Association of Bengal in Dec. 2006.

After multiple court cases against him, Dalmiya was finally cleared to contest elections and became the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal in 2008 for a five-year-term.

Board of Control for Cricket in India, BCCI, President Sharad Pawar, right, speaks with former BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya before a board meeting, in Bombay, India, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2005. (AP Photo/Rajesh Nirgude)
BCCI president Sharad Pawar (right) speaks with former BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya before a board meeting in Mumbai on Dec. 4, 2005. (AP Photo/Rajesh Nirgude)
epa000482274 Former Cricket Board President Jagmohan Dalmiya (R), Professor Brian Stoddart (C) of the University of Latrobe and Professor I.A. Mangan (L), executive and founder of the Editor International Journal Of The History About Sports (IJHS), talk as they meet in Calcutta, West Bengal, India on Friday 15 July 2005. They are visiting Calcutta to present the IJHS achivement award to former ICC and BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmia. EPA/PIYAL ADHIKARY
Former cricket board president Jagmohan Dalmiya (right), professor Brian Stoddart (centre) of the University of Latrobe and professor I.A. Mangan (left), executive and founder of the Editor International Journal Of The History About Sports, in Kolkata on July 15, 2005. (EPA/Piyal Adhikary)
epa00784971 The new Cricket Board President of Bengal Jagmohan Dalmia (L) addressing to press after being elected for the next five years at Cricket Association of Bengal Calcutta late Sunday, 30 July 2006. Dalmiya won 61-56 margin votes against police commissioner of Calcutta Prasun Mukherjee (R). EPA/PIYAL ADHIKARY
The new cricket board president of Bengal Jagmohan Dalmia (left) addressing to press after being elected for the next five years at the Cricket Association of Bengal on July 30, 2006. (EPA/Piyal Adhikary)
Former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, right, gestures during his felicitation by Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) at his home ground, Eden Gardens, in Calcutta, India, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009. Also seen are CAB president, Jagmohan Dalmiya, center, and West Bengal state sports minister Subhash Chakraborty. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly (right) gestures during his felicitation by the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) at his home ground, Eden Gardens, in Kolkata, India, on Jan. 18, 2009. Also seen are CAB president, Jagmohan Dalmiya (center) and West Bengal state sports minister Subhash Chakraborty. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

2015

In March 2015, Dalmiya returned as the president of the BCCI.

Much of that had to do with, N. Srinivasan, the then president of the BCCI facing allegations of massive corruption, which forced even India’s supreme court to step in. Dalmiya emerged as the consensus candidate between various factions in BCCI when elections were held. This was his second term as the president of BCCI.

Cricket Association of Bengal President Jagmohan Dalmiya, center, gestures after International Cricket Council (ICC), officials return after an inspection of the Eden Gardens in Calcutta, India, Monday, Feb. 7, 2011. A team from the ICC Monday completed an inspection of the Eden Gardens to determine whether it is in shape to host three remaining matches of the World Cup after it was stripped of the showpiece tie between India and England slated for February 27. The World Cup, which is being co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, begins with a match between India and Bangladesh at Dhaka on February 19.(AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Jagmohan Dalmiya, president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, gestures after ICC officials return after an inspection of the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Feb. 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Jagmohan Dalmiya, center, who was Sunday named the interim head of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) interacts with the media after a press conference in Kolkata, India, Monday, June 3, 2013. The president of the BCCI, Narainswamy Srinivasan, agreed to step aside but not resign while the ongoing spot-fixing scandal in the Indian Premier League is being investigated. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Jagmohan Dalmiya (centre), who was named the interim head of the BCCI, interacts with the media after a press conference in Kolkata on June 3, 2013. The president of the BCCI, N. Srinivasan, agreed to step aside but not resign while the ongoing spot-fixing scandal in the Indian Premier League is being investigated. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Former International Cricket Council chief Jagmohan Dalmiya returns in a car after he was elected president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India in Chennai, India, Monday, March 2, 2015. Dalmiya emerged as the only candidate after India's Supreme Court barred current ICC boss Narainswamy Srinivasan from seeking rer-election. (AP Photo/Arun Sankar K)
Former ICC chief Jagmohan Dalmiya returns in a car after he was elected president of the BCCI in Chennai on March 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Arun Sankar K)
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