There is no doubt about the control he wielded, but Board President N Srinivasan was never a popular figure among the Board members. He brooked no challenge mainly due to a weak opposition. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court’s damning observations against the Chennai strongman triggered a quick change in the power game in the BCCI.
Three of the seniormost members of the Board, vice presidents Shivlal Yadav, Ravi Savant and Chitrak Mitra led the chorus against Srinivasan, asking him to abide by the court’s observation.
Interestingly, the first to react was Yadav, the VP from South Zone. Being a favourite for the post, he was quick to throw his hat in the ring, saying “absolutely, I am ready to accept any responsibility given to me.”
Well aware of the volatile politics of the BCCI, Srinivasan is making a last-ditch effort to somehow save his chair and thereby keep the contenders at bay. Sources close to him say that his counsel will request to the apex court to allow him to be in the president’s chair before and after the probe period.
If the plea is rejected, the Srinivasan camp knows it will be end-game. For, there are no permanent enemies or friends. Srinivasan was unanimously re-elected President at the AGM last September, mainly because he had managed to keep the South Zone block together. Now, Yadav’s statement is an indicator he is ready to break rank.
The Board’s history is proof that what goes around comes around. Jagmohan Dalmiya is a classic example. He was all powerful till Sharad Pawar, N Srinivasan and Lalit Modi teamed up to oust him.
“It’s all about the chair, once it is gone, no one cares,” said a seasoned player in BCCI politics. “It’s the President who runs the Board and if a new President is in, he will look into the future.”
Srinivasan’s desperation to save his chair is also aimed to protect Chennai Super Kings. But he now seems to be left with three options. He can step down immediately or wait for the court order. The third option could be to summon an IPL governing council meeting, a special general body meeting or a working committee meeting to gauge the mood.
A BCCI huddle is imminent but till late on Tuesday no circular had been issued from Srinivasan’s Chennai office to convene any meeting although he met his lawyers and confidantes.
However, the worst setback for Srinivasan is that it could end his dreams of taking over as ICC chairman. It had been decided that he will be the first to hold the top post in the revamped set-up.
“It is an internal matter of the BCCI and the ICC does not have anything to do with it,” an ICC spokesperson told HT. But ICC sources said there would be no issues as it is a post that has been left to the BCCI president.