Ruchir Modi feels his father’s contribution to cricket is unparallel & dismisses the claim of majority support by the CP Joshi camp as mere ‘propaganda’
While those of his pedigree have chosen to ascend their billion dollar ancestral business empire and at times are seen amid ostentatious fortress of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Ruchir Modi has preferred for a rather quirky job besides vast inheritance. The son of the former IPL chairman Lalit Modi has announced himself and is raring to fish in troubled waters of Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA). Attribute his choice to redeem the lost image of his father or to getting his unfinished cricket business done, no doubt Ruchir has taken a bold step forward.
Since he became the President of Alwar District Cricket Association last August, it is clear that he will in all likelihood file his nomination for the post of RCA President, election for which is due on May 29. To not let him have a cake walk, the other faction that is backing CP Joshi is leaving no stone unturned and has created a pandemonium of sorts trumpeting about their plum vote bank, fraudulent poll politics by Modi coterie and Ruchir’s ineligibility to fight for the post. On the contrary, the junior Modi has strictly kept his talk around plans he wishes to execute to take the game forward in Rajasthan by treading the Lodha panel path.
When CAUGHT IN SLIPS, Ruchir Modi responded to all the vague notions doing rounds pertaining to his candidature. He also shared who his favourite cricketer is and how he plans to lead men double his age. Here are the excerpts-
Q. At the time you visited Jaipur to hold a meeting with various office bearers of district cricket associations it was said that RCA elections are now mere formality for Ruchir Modi has ensured that he wins unanimously and ascend to the post of RCA president. In the backdrop of new development, do you think it’s the other way now- CP Joshi coterie winning the elections by majority? (CP Joshi group claims to have support of at least 25 district associations)
RM: Elections and their outcomes cannot be predicted in any sense and one would have to wait for the counting to know the outcome. Situations keep changing and no one is assured of what’s going to happen in the future. I am not concerned of the outcomes of the election, but my focus lies on how I will implement plans for the betterment of RCA.
Q. The recent shift of weight on Joshi’s side can be termed as the end of Modi Era?
RM: Waxing and waning of numbers has been an integral part of any electoral process. However, I don’t find any reason for you to put forth this proposition. Where was the occasion of display of any such weight. Lalit Modi support base is of all season supporters.
Eras are not definitely defined by the office one holds but actually by the contribution one make to any institution. Lalit Modi’s contribution to cricket is much more than an electoral era but a period marked in gold so far unsurpassed or unparalleled.
Elections are won via ballot boxes not on the basis of media perception and propaganda. I would advise you and everyone else to refrain from making ‘end of era’ statements. Even opponents have admitted on national television about the good work done by Mr. Lalit Modi. I have also presented my vision statement and the execution plan to the members almost a month in advance. Let’s not worry about weight, let’s just wait.
Q. We hear that some people shifted loyalties. Will you call them opportunist? (Person in context is Nagaur District Secretary Rajendra Singh Nandu).
RM: Instead of focusing on who is with me or not, I am more concerned about the betterment of RCA and the state players. And I believe that whom so ever shares the same thought will always support the core cause.
Q. As now you are into cricket politics, how do you look at it?
RM: I am totally aware of the circumstances that Rajasthan Cricket is facing right now. I know there are wide-ranging challenges out there, but I am also cognizant of the wide array of opportunities the current scenario offers at the forefront. And I am confident that with my team’s enthusiasm and hard work will surely help us achieve the common goal of taking RCA to a completely different level.
Q. Do you think had Lalit Modi been in India, it would have been easier for you to establish yourself as a cricket administrator?
RM: I have already established myself enough in the field of Cricket and being the president of Alwar Cricket Association, I know how to manage things efficiently. I seek suggestions from my father keeping in mind his vast experience of the field, but it doesn’t alter my plans and vision. So, it doesn’t make any difference to me if he would have been present here.
Q. Are you ineligible to fight the elections and that’s why the amendment regarding doing away with the experience criterion of 4 years as president of district cricket association has been suggested in the State Sports Act? Detail us on that.
RM: I’m fully eligible to contest and hold any office in RCA under the Lodha committee scheme and the RCA constitution. High court order has now set all speculations about the constitution amendments to rest.
Q. Suppose, you stay ineligible and CP Joshi wins the post, but you still manage to remain the president of Alwar district cricket association. Will you continue there in a hope to strengthen your credentials and make a comeback after 3 years? Or is it the first and last shot?
RM: Like I said that this is too hypothetical a question for me to answer. I am here to stay and one election or one defeat is not going to change my resolve to make Rajasthan the best cricket association in India and amongst the leading cricket body in the world.
Q. Tell us something about your experience as the director of Godfrey Phillips? Do you think apart from your father’s advice on cricket, this experience will also come in handy in managing cricket affairs.
RM: In any organization, processes and systems are of prime importance; equally important is communication. RCA will work like a corporate organization off the field. Our job will be to ensure that the players have all the facilities and support they need to excel. Off it our job will be to build an ecosystem that makes us self-sufficient given the brilliant infrastructure Mr. Lalit Modi has created for the RCA.
Q. Do you think leading a group of men double your age is an easy thing? (In context of RCA)
RM: I really think that is not an issue at all. To quote the great Nelson Mandela – who I had the good fortune of meeting in 2009 – “Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.” With respect and clear focus on the job at hand, any group of men can be led.
Q. Is there a bitter feeling when you see Indian Premier League (IPL) thriving sans your father?
RM: No not at all! I never feel anything bad about it. My dad launched it and worked very hard for it. We should always focus on the bigger cause that is how IPL has inspired and helped the domestic players reach a completely different level while achieving milestones.
The fact that the IPL is still going strong in season 10 has in fact brought a sense of joy and pride to me, it is incredible something my father has created from ground up is still one of the largest sporting bodies in the world. If the IPL failed after my father had left I would have been disappointed, of course however I do wish the IPL was run as it was in my father’s era, I miss the glamour and excitement from it.
Q. On a lighter note, we would like to know who is your favourite cricketer from Rajasthan and Team India?
RM: Let me reply to that one in a lighter vein, Shane Warne. Jokes aside, Pankaj Singh is one cricketer we are really proud of. During the first few years of IPL, Ashok Menaria held a lot of promise. From Team India, Sachin Tendulkar is my all-time favorite while Rahul Dravid is inspirational with the way he has conducted himself all these years.
Q. When are you planning to learn Hindi so as to communicate better with those office bearers who speak in Hindi and come from rural background. Or you think language isn’t a barrier at all?
RM: Language isn’t important; communication is important. If only language mattered then there should have never have been any differences amongst the 33 officer bearers in the RCA since all speak Hindi.
What’s important is to keep communication lines open at all times. Be a good listener. I believe half the time we listen to reply not to understand.