The decision of the new Indian cricket board bosses to remove N Srinivasan as the International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman is welcome, even if it was expected and a natural progression to what has happened within the most influential national body in the game. Srinivasan had earlier clung to his BCCI presidency despite blatant conflict of interest issues after the IPL spot-fixing scandal erupted, and was forced to step down by the Supreme Court; his ouster at the ICC only finishes the job.
The removal will not only end the Chennai industrialist’s grip on world cricket, it will provide relief from his autocratic style of functioning. New BCCI president Shashank Manohar is taking over the ICC job to complete India’s two-year term, which runs until June next year, and he should embrace a new approach. Srinivasan had caused major upheaval in global cricket as he, assisted by former IPL COO Sundar Raman, was instrumental in India, Australia and England cornering the lion’s share of world cricket’s finances. His sacking will be quietly welcomed by the smaller national boards.
While India’s grip on the game at world level will stay, it is the intent shown by Manohar in cleaning the system within BCCI that could make a big difference. He has brought in sorely needed stricter conflict of interest rules for current and previous players. It’s a good move to remove World Cup-winning all-rounder Roger Binny as a national selector; while no one has questioned Binny’s conduct, he could have avoided this embarrassment by stepping down earlier, once his son Stuart Binny came into contention at the national level. It is an example of how people are happy to cling on to profitable roles, and the decision suggests the BCCI will not hesitate to apply rules uniformly.
Dropping Ravi Shastri from the Indian Premier League Governing Council was long overdue. While he is currently the India team director, he was also the paid TV commentator. Paying pliant former players to ensure they backed everything the BCCI did, in the Srinivasan dispensation, was at the root of the conflict of interest problem.
The appointment of an independent auditor to go through the accounts of every state association before they are funded and naming an Ombudsman are also reformative steps. The BCCI is fully aware that it needs to set its house in order before the Supreme Court-appointed Justice RM Lodha committee submits its recommendations for reforms within the board.