New Dellhi, Sep 21: Describing former BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya as a great administrator, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said in his death, the country has lost an enthusiast who made India the home of cricket.
"The game of cricket has lost a great administrator who shifted the Home of cricket to India. I have lost a personal friend," he said in his condolence message from Hong Kong.
The 75-year-old Dalmiya, passed away at Kolkata city hospital on Sunday following a massive cardiac arrest. He is survived by his wife Chadralekha, daughter Vaishali and son Abhishek.
"I last met him in Kolkata last month. He was hopeful of recovering. Destiny however, decided otherwise," Jaitley said in his Facebook post titled 'Dalmiya Ji - A man in a league of his own'. Jaitley, a former BCCI administrator, said Dalmiya's passing away "is a great loss to the cricket administration, the BCCI, the CAB, his friends and family."
"To me it is a personal loss as we shared a warm personal relationship for over two decades."
He also recalled the Dalmiya's contribution in defending the BCCI's right to telecast its own cricket matches and support the game by the revenues generated from broadcasting rights.
"I first met him in the early nineties when he and Inderjit Bindra another veteran cricket administrator decided to take on the Government of India and defend the BCCI's right to telecast its' own cricket matches and support the game of cricket with the revenues generated by Television Broadcasting rights," he said.
Although the Government contended that 'National Security' would be threatened if uplinking was allowed to private parties, Jaitley said, "we succeeded in getting an Interim order from the Supreme Court and finally won the case. Thanks to the battle fought by the 'Dalmiya-Bindra duo, 'AIRWAVES' were freed in India and free speech on Television became a reality and more meaningful."
Having economically empowered the BCCI with the TV money, he said, Dalmiya realised the power of the "eyeballs".
"India alone accounted for more than seventy five per cent of the TV audiences, an equal amount of sponsorship money and hence India's influence in the International Cricket Council would also increase. Dalmiya became the President of the ICC and India's influence in the world of cricket has never looked back," he said.
Jaitley further said even though Dalmiya attracted opposition both within the ICC and the BCCI, he managed to stage a comeback after being ousted from CAB for a brief period by the Left Front Government.