Long before India dictated terms on world cricket, it was England who held the upperhand. The first three World Cups was staged in England. Late Jagmohan Dalmiya played a significant role in bringing the World Cup to the subcontinent in 1987 and back again in 1996. It cannot be denied that it was the efforts of Dalmiya that made India, the commercial capital of cricket.
The success India cricket saw over the years as power and control gradually shifting towards it cannot be underestimated. And many thanks to former ICC President Dalmiya for making that shift happen.
Dalmiya made BCCI the richest cricket body. He struck a multi-million television deal with World Tel and that propelled Indian cricket board to the forefront in making it a self-sufficient cricketing powerhouse.
His elevation as President of ICC was another feather to his cap. Being the first Asian to head the ICC, Dalmiya marked a great shift of power from Lord’s to Eden Gardens. He opened the way for revenue generating power of this sport.
Dalmiya was instrumental in bringing South Africa out of its apartheid ban. He arranged a tour of South Africa in India to help them come out of the stigma. Besides, he never let go of an opportunity to forge bonds through cricket. During the 1996 World Cup, Australia and West Indies had refused to play league games in terror-marred Sri Lanka. Dalmiya created a united India-Pakistan team in just days to play friendlies against Sri Lanka there.
Closer home, he fought tooth and nail during the Denness episode when few Indian cricketers were suspended by the match referee. Dalmiya, the then BCCI president, demanded a right of appeal from the ICC. He demanded match referee Mark Dennes to be removed from the following Test or face cancellation of the tour. The third Test was declared unofficial by ICC as Denness had to sit out.
Being a cricketer himself during his club and college days, Dalmiya took his work seriously as the cricket administrator and made money for BCCI and helped it become a giant in world cricket. It wouldn’t have been possible without the foresight and vision of Dalmiya. Ian Chappel, former Australia cricketer, was right when he said, “He has a vision for the game’s progress that I haven’t heard enunciated by any other so-called leader among cricket officials.”