Cricket administration was among the many hats Arun Jaitley wore in public life and in his death, the cricketers remembered the man who seamlessly juggled roles and stood for them in testing times. A seasoned politician, an astute lawyer and a raconteur with innumerable friends across party lines, Jaitley passed away on Saturday after a prolonged period of illness. He was 66.
While politicians cutting across party lines were quick to mourn the death of the former union minister, the cricketers also took to twitter to express their condolences.
Former India opener and BJP member of Parliament, Gautam Gambhir, who was close to Jaitley, said a part of him was gone with his demise.
“A father teaches u to speak but a father figure teaches u to talk. A father teaches u to walk but a father figure teaches u to march on. A father gives u a name but a father figure gives u an identity. A part of me is gone with my Father Figure Shri Arun Jaitley Ji. RIP Sir,” Gambhir tweeted.
As he helmed the Delhi Districts and Cricket Association (DDCA), talented players from in and around the national capital emerged and flourished in the biggest stage. Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma, besides Gambhir, are some of the names that shone in international cricket with him at the top.
He was a cricket fan first and someone that every big name in BCCI would consult before zeroing in on any policy decision with regards to Indian cricket. Expressing their grief were Virender Sehwag and Aakash Chopra in a series of tweets.
“Pained at the passing away of ArunJaitley ji. Apart from having served greatly in public life , he played a huge role in many players from Delhi getting an opportunity to represent India. There was a time when not many players from Delhi got a chance at the highest level,” Sehwag said on twitter.
The big-hitting former opener was not done there. “... But under his leadership at the DDCA, many players including me got a chance to represent India. He listened to needs of the players & was a problem solver. Personally shared a very beautiful relationship with him. My thoughts & prayers are with his family & loved ones. Om Shanti.
Chopra said, “Deeply saddened to hear that Mr. Arun Jaitley is no more. A scholar...a cricket lover. Always helpful. Would remember the names of the kids doing well at U-19 level too. World will be poorer in your absence, sir. riparunjaitley.”
The DDCA also expressed its condolence on its official twitter page. “DDCA condoles the death of its former president Mr Arun Jaitley. DDCA and its members mourn his untimely death and feel the loss of his experience and wisdom. We pray to the Almighty for his soul to Rest In Peace.”
BCCI acting president CK Khanna termed it a personal loss. “Our association goes back to our college days in Shri Ram College Of Commerce where we worked together, he as the President, and me as the General Secretary of the College Union. I also had the privilege of inviting and closely working him in the Cricket Administration in DDCA and BCCI. His contribution in the field of cricket shall be remembered forever,” Khanna said.
Cricket Association of Bengal joint secretary Avishek Dalmiya, whose father late Jagmohan Dalmiya worked closely with Jaitley during former’s stint as BCCI president also sent his condolences. “Shri Arun Jaitley ji was one of the few persons who has genuinely loved Indian cricket and someone who always came forward to protect the BCCI when chips were down,” Dalmiya said.
“Being an eminent lawyer, he would take the centerstage in such adverse situations and guide the Board on the way forward. In fact, he would certainly have been the obvious and unanimous choice for the BCCI Presidentship on a number of occasions had he given his consent to occupy the chair,” Dalmiya junior said.
Jaitley, a lawyer by profession, had been a key member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet in the NDA government’s first term. He held the finance and defence portfolios, and often acted as the chief troubleshooter of the government.
Jaitley did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election owing to ill-health and was admitted to AIIMS for treatment in May this year. He had undergone a renal transplant on May 14 last year at AIIMS.
The BCCI on Saturday condoled the demise of Arun Jaitley, describing him a “remarkable statesman” and an “able and respected” cricket administrator. “A remarkable statesman, Mr Jaitley was a passionate cricket follower and will always be remembered as one of the most able and respected cricket administrators,” BCCI said in a press release.
The BCCI also lauded the former DDCA president for bringing in change in state cricket’s administration.
“During his long tenure as the President of the Delhi & District Cricket Association, he brought about a tremendous change in the cricketing infrastructure. A close friend of the cricketers, he always stood by them, encouraged them and supported them in their quest for excellence,” it stated.
“The BCCI shares the pain and grief of the Jaitley family and prays for the departed soul,” the Board said.
Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) also condoled Jaitley’s death. “The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association deeply condoles the sad demise of Arun Jaitley, former Union Minister of Finance.
He was a recipient of several awards, distinctions and outstanding performances both in academics and extracurricular activities starting from his student days,” the TNCA said in a message.
The TNCA described him as an ardent sports lover, who had served as the President of Delhi District Cricket Association, Vice-President of Board of Control for Cricket in India and Member of the Governing Council of the Indian Premier League.
Former BCCI President and India Cements Vice Chairman and Managing Director N Srinivasan condoled Jaitley’s death. “Arun Jaitley’s passing away leaves a void difficult to fill. Not only was he a great lawyer, successful finance minister, he also through his abiding interest in cricket been a stalwart of the BCCI for over two decades.
A personal friend, I shall miss him,” Srinivasan, a former ICC Chairman, said in a message.