The meeting in Chennai on Sunday not only showed who the real boss in Indian cricket is, but also allowed a peek into the changing dynamics within the BCCI. N Srinivasan’s informal yet unanimous candidature as BCCI chief for another term is an index of the changing balance of power. A few associations tagged as anti-Srinivasan are planning to jump to his side than oppose.
Take Mumbai for example. It is well known that Srinivasan does not get along with Mumbai Cricket Association chief, Sharad Pawar, and yet its vice-president Ravi Savant chose to attend the meeting. An MCA official said, “Savant attended in his personal capacity.” The IPL final being moved out of the Wankhede stadium was a big blow and the MCA has now started to cosy up to the Srinivasan camp. Savant too harbours his own ambitions and could emerge a gainer from better BCCI-MCA ties.
Similarly, the Punjab Cricket Association too is willing to sway towards Srinivasan since former BCCI president, IS Bindra, retired from the state unit. Bindra was a staunch opponent of Srinivasan, and although PCA was not informed about the meeting, the willingness of the state unit to lean is quite evident.
Another association whose moves were equally confusing was the Cricket Association of Bengal, and the National Cricket Club, which is Jagmohan Dalmiya’s club. Sometimes on the side of Srinivasan and on other times quietly opposing some of his decisions, it seems to have realised staying on which side would benefit the association. “We may have been fence-sitters, but are not back-benchers. We are closely observing the development and will make moves with our interest in mind,” said a CAB official, effectively conveying that there can be no permanent friends or enemies in this business.
Moreover, the interim report submitted by the Mudgal committee, although it is yet to be made public, seems to have further convinced Srinivasan’s detractors that the case against him is likely to collapse and he will emerge unscathed. In such a scenario, the state associations can hardly risk antagonising a sitting BCCI president, who also happens to be the ICC chairman. Also, in the absence of a strong opposition in the BCCI, it is finally dawning on them that rebelling against Srinivasan may not be a bright idea.
Some association have already lost opportunities to host matches, seen academies in their state getting abandoned and missed out on plum positions. The remaining few associations --- Vidarbha, Saurashtra, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, and Rajasthan --- are being forced to consider their stated position. With the Chennai meeting announcing its overwhelming support for Srinivasan’s candidature, it will be interesting to see whether these associations drop their opposition and jump sides, or fight and suffer.