Vadodara: Sep 20, 2013
Former secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Jaywant Yeshwant Lele passed away at his residence at Vadodara, following a massive heart attack.
Lele breathed his last late on Thursday night. He was 75 and is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
The outspoken Lele, who served as BCCI’s assistant secretary and later took over the reins as the secretary when Jagmohan Dalmiya became the president of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 1996, had celebrated his 75th birthday on September 13, said former India stumper Nayan Mongia, who confirmed the news of his death.
“He had celebrated his 75th birthday with his friends. It is very unfortunate. He was like a father to me. I always used to consult him on various issues. He had guided me from the age of 12,” Mongia told PTI.
According to family sources, Lele, who had written an autobiography on his career as a cricket administrator, was not feeling well during his birthday celebrations because of a viral infection.
“He suffered a massive heart attack when he went to the bathroom before going to sleep. He was escorted to the bed but he passed away,” said family sources.
It was during Lele’s tenure as the BCCI secretary that the match-fixing scandal broke out in 2000, which led to the life ban imposed by the Board on former captain Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma and five-year bans on Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar.
A qualified umpire and a club level cricketer, Lele later graduated to BCCI ranks and then rose to become its secretary during one of the most turbulent period in Indian cricket.
It was during his tenure as the BCCI secretary that the Board first set up the Justice Chandrachud commission to enquire into match-fixing charges and then asked the CBI to probe the charges after former South African captain Hansie Cronje admitted to fixing matches, got banned for life. Cronje had named several cricketers around the world, including Azharuddin.
Lele often got into trouble for airing his views fearlessly. He had once also spoken out against legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev, when he was the India team coach, for including Ajit Agarkar as an additional camp member in Ahmedabad without the Board’s permission.
It was Lele who had predicted that India would suffer a 3-0 whitewash against Australia during their tour Down Under in 1999 with Sachin Tendulkar as captain and Kapil as coach.
He, however, denied having predicted any scoreline later.
Lele started his career as an administrator of the Baroda Cricket Association, learnt his ropes under the guidance of former India skipper Vijay Hazare and then former BCCI president Fatehsinhrao Gaekwad before becoming its joint secretary.
Soon after learning about the death of Lele, Srinivasan telephoned BCCI secreatary Sanjay Patel this morning and asked him (Patel) to rush to the city to attend the funeral of the former administrator.
Talking to PTI at Kjaswadi crematorium where Lele was cremated , Patel said: “Srinivasan was in Ranchi and telephoned me in Mumbai at 5 am this morning conveying his condolence and asking me to leave Mumbai immediately to attend the funeral of Lele which was scheduled at 11 am.”
Patel said Lele provided some tips to him after he was apppointed the BCCI secretary following Sanjay Jagdale’s resignation.
Tendulkar, who is now in Jaipur to take part in Mumbai Indians’ CLT20 against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday, called up former ODI player Atul Bedade to convey his condolences to the bereaved family of Lele.
Paying rich tribute to Lele, Tendulkar told Bedade that the former BCCi secretary had played an important role when he started playing cricket more than two decades ago.
Tendulkar also said that he cannot forget Lele’s contribution in shaping his cricketing career, Bedade said.
Former IPL chairman and president of the Baroda Cricket Association, Chirayu Amin also praised the administrative capabilities of Lele.
Amin, who garlanded the dead body in the crematorium, said: “Lele was a super man and will be remembered long for the development of the game of cricket in Vadodara as balance of BCA was merely Rs 500 when he took over its reins in the late seventies.”
Former Test opener Anshuman Gaekwad said it was difficult to find a person like Lele in BCCI.
“He never said no for anything and his administrative capabilities were excellent,” said Gaekwad.
Former India stumper Kiran More conceded that it was a mistake he made when he played an important role in the ouster of the outspoken Lele in an intensively fought election in 2001 and later accusing the latter of financial irregularities.