An unthinkable alliance between Sharad Pawar and N Srinivasan has caught many within the BCCI off-guard.
More interestingly, that the meeting between the two heavyweights happened in Shashank Manohar’s hometown, Nagpur, has left people trying to figure what role Manohar played in the truce.
Manohar has been a strident opponent of Srinivasan, having hit back at him on several issues, ranging from his conflict of interest to his son-in-law’s involvement in the spot-fixing scandal.
It is understood that the rigid stand of the Anurag Thakur faction in pitting Rajeev Shukla against Pawar has forced Manohar to take a relook at his equation with Srinivasan. “It can never happen what Pawar thinks and acts will be without the knowledge of Manohar. The former BCCI chief was kept in the loop and apprised by Pawar as soon the meeting with Srinivasan was over. There is no doubt now that Manohar has given tacit support to this alliance,” said a prominent member of the Pawar-Manohar group. Also, Srinivasan’s concerns surrounding his position in the ICC too have reached Manohar, and his silence is an indication of no opposition.
There is a feeling within the Pawar faction that following the trail of negative sentiments around him, Srinivasan is on the path to side with the right side of power balance.
“Srinivasan’s change in stand towards the Pawar-Manohar faction is not without a long-term intent. Not just to protect his interests in the ICC, he is also aware of the negative image that has gone around,” added the member.
The Manohar-Srinivasan relationship turned sour over a period of time. The two fought many Board battles together and the friendship grew when they joined hands to root out Jagmohan Dalmiya. Then, they were on the same page in ejecting Lalit Modi out of the BCCI, so much so that Manohar even deserted Pawar, who had a soft corner for Modi. Once Manohar shot back at a reporter, “Were you there in the Supreme Court,” when the conflict of interest issue, fought by AC Muthiah against Srinivasan, was raised in Mumbai. Manohar chose to reply in Srinivasan’s defence.
Around the same time, the understanding within BCCI circles was that Srinivasan’s effort to correct the ICC framework in introducing the post of chairman was to ensure that Manohar became ICC’s first chairman. But for Srinivasan’s ambitions, the ICC chairman’s post never came Manohar’s way. Also, their equation underwent a lot of change by the time the ICC chairman post was introduced. Many in the BCCI believe that was the first seed of dissension between the two.
Ever since, Manohar had been acerbic in his tone against Srinivasan. “Srinivasan should have stepped down in 2013, no individual is ahead of the institution and he too is the root of all scandals and should immediately step down from his position as chairman of ICC,” Manohar had said reacting to the Lodha Commission’s findings.
How the Thakur faction responds to the Pawar-Manohar-Srinivasan alliance will probably have an effect on the new power equations in the Board.