The four months of proxy rule in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has come to an end. The Supreme Court’s ruling on Tuesday allowing N Srinivasan to resume charge is a victory of sorts for the beleaguered BCCI president.
Srinivasan had clung on to power despite tremendous pressure, be it the quiet resistance from within or the open questioning of his right to continue — through court petitions — after the arrest of his son-in-law and Chennai Super Kings official, Gurunath Meiyappan, who was then charge-sheeted by the Mumbai Police as part of its ongoing betting investigations.
The court verdict will at least for some time put a stop to the uncertainties that have been hanging over the president’s chair, since Srinivasan was forced to step aside from running the Board on June 2, and return the focus to administration once again.
Within hours of the court ruling came reports quoting BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel that Cricket South Africa president has been invited to resume discussions on India’s tour at the year end, raising hopes that some workable schedule will be hammered out. That will prevent what would otherwise be a financial disaster for CSA and an embarrassment for cricket as the series between the two major teams was keenly awaited for months.
That Srinivasan was back in the helm was clear from the fact that CSA’s CEO, Haroon Lorgat, has not been invited.
The power within the BCCI had showed signs of getting scattered when Srinivasan first stepped aside and Jagmohan Dalmiya stepped into the role of interim president. But it was clear that their relationship had soured by the time all efforts to force Srinivasan not to seek a re-election failed. With all important posts having been filled with those who had backed him during the crisis, it will only be easy for Srinivasan to ensure his writ runs again.
There were doubts whether the BCCI and the petitioner would agree to the names the court suggested in the inquiry panel. But with no objections forthcoming, neither party can have any complaints later.
That means a return to Srinivasan’s hard-nosed style of functioning, particularly in financial matters. This is sure to find its echo in meetings at the International Cricket Council. He is also sure to take a call on deciding where Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th Test will be played and how he finishes up his Test career.
However, all this can drastically change for the Chennai industrialist if there are adverse findings by the inquiry panel headed by retired Punjab and Haryana High Court judge, Mukul Mudgal.
With the fresh panel expected to be more thorough than the earlier one in going into allegations of corruption in the IPL, all focus will be on what it has to say about Meiyappan and the CSK this time around. If the panel finds fault with their functioning, then there will be sections within the Board opposed to him that will bring fresh pressure on Srinivasan to step aside again.