In its verdict delivered on Thursday, the Supreme Court chose not to bring down the hammer on N Srinivasan’s career in cricket administration. At the same time, it gave his detractors more ammunition to take him on. In other words, the apex court put the onus on the members of the board to make their choice.
If Srinivasan manages to disown his franchise, Chennai Super Kings, he is clear to contest. Srinivasan is known to have made his calculations to be confident of seeking a second term as BCCI president. His opponents have a maximum of six weeks, as per SC orders, to put up a fight.
However, it will be interesting to observe whether equations will change post-verdict.
Board veterans, known to be Srinivasan’s detractors, were not jumping with excitement. Wary of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) president’s ability to turn rules to his advantage, they are aware if Srinivasan enters the BCCI poll fray, it will be difficult to stop him.
“If the SC has left him the scope of disowning the team to qualify, Srinivasan will manage to do it. The board rules cannot stop him,” said a board member.
Srinivasan has remained unfazed, weathering criticism over his conflict of interests as owner of CSK, while being a senior official of the board. The alleged involvement of his son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan, was the only point which left him vulnerable.
Making a choice
Between holding on to power in the BCCI and relinquishing his shares in CSK, sources say he is clear about going for the former. The Supreme Court has put the onus on him to prove that he owns no stake in the CSK.
On Thursday, Srinivasan was trying to find the best way to officially relinquish his ownership in the CSK while cutting down on the losses.
However, petitioner Aditya Verma claimed Srinivasan has no escape route to contest the BCCI election. “Srinivasan cannot contest the elections till SC’s newly-appointed committee completes its work (of deciding on quantum of punishment against Meiyappan and Raj Kundra),” said Verma.
Srinivasan knows that not only his future but also of his T20 team stems from holding on to the president’s post as the BCCI rules bestow tremendous power in the chair. If he is out, there is no guarantee that CSK won’t be targeted.
The other option can be that he continues to control by having a proxy in the president’s chair. But, the board veteran ruled that out. “Proxy politics doesn’t work in the BCCI. If he is not allowed to contest, he is finished.”
For contesting elections, all Srinivasan requires is two state units from East Zone to propose and second his name. With at least four associations on his side — Assam, Jharkhand, Tripura and Odisha — the TNCA president is sitting pretty. The remaining two votes from the zone — Cricket Association of Bengal and National Cricket Club are with Jagmohan Dalmiya and he may be the only roadblock.
Once he manages to get a proposer and seconder, Srinivasan needs 16 votes at the annual general body meeting. The president is elected at the BCCI’s AGM with each of the 30 affiliates getting a vote. The outgoing president also has a vote as chairman of the meeting.
Garnering 16 votes shouldn’t be an uphill task for Srinivasan as he should manage unconditional support from South Zone, which has six votes, and four from the East Zone could take tally to 10.
West and Central Zone might give a tough time as Maharashtra, Mumbai and Saurashtra are unlikely to lend support. Similarly, Madhya Pradesh and Vidarbha are against him. In that scenario, Gujarat and Cricket Club of India and UP will become crucial for Srinivasan to reach the tally.
In the context of North Zone, Srinivasan will be sure of getting support from Haryana and Himachal Pradesh as BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary and joint secretary Anurag Thakur’s influence can work in his favour. Delhi might also tag along given Arun Jaitley’s say in the association.
If manages votes from Services, Railways and Universities, he can reach the magic figure of 16.