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

By Manu Balachandran
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

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.


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.
Reuters photographer
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
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.


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.
AP Photo/Ajit Kumar
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.
Reuters photographer
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 Kolkata on Dec. 18, 2002.
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.
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
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.


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.

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.
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
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.
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.


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.

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 (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/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.

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