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Indian cricket’s dictator outwits rivals smartly

india Updated: Jun 03, 2013 01:03 IST
Sahan Bidappa
Sahan Bidappa
Hindustan Times
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N. Srinivasan, in the local cricket circles is sometimes referred to as Napoleon. And like the French military leader, Srinivasan has ruled with a golden fist.

Known to be brazen and arrogant, Srinvasan has shown little remorse for the way he has controlled things, first in the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association and then in the BCCI. On Sunday, he was well prepared for the battle.

And eventually, what was meant to be his 'Waterloo' for Srinivasan, the BCCI emergency Working Committee meeting, effectively turned out to be a victory for the 68-year-old businessman.

Calling shots
He arrived at the meeting well in advance. As other board members trooped in at a star hotel, he had little time to tighten the loopholes and convince the members to not ask for his resignation. But he still succeeded.

Ahead of the meeting, there were indications he would be humiliated and forced to resign. But in the two-hour meeting, much like he has done in his eight-year career as cricket administrator, it was Srinivasan who called the shots.

Only Inderjit Singh Bindra, the Punjab Cricket Association president and former BCCI chief, called for his resignation. But after a while Bindra too realised he was waging a lone battle. “He has emerged as a larger than life figure in the BCCI. He has said he will step aside for one month but people know he will return after that,” said Bindra.

In a matter of 48 hours, Srinivasan had changed the equation. The resignation of secretary, Sanjay Jagdale, and treasurer, Ajay Shrike, was a setback but Srinivasan proved to be a master manipulator again.

Deft moves
First, he convinced two of the most powerful board members, Arun Jaitley and Rajeev Shukla, to back him. Once that was done, he countered the opposition from the Sharad Pawar camp. Pawar, the former ICC and BCCI president, is known have played a key role in planning Srinivasan's downfall.

Jagmohan Dalmiya's support played a major role in Srinivasan's survival. Once rivals, Srinivasan's has become a close ally of Damiya by reaching out to the former ICC president when the veteran administrator hosted a dinner on the eve of the T20 league final.

In the last three years, Srini­vasan had helped Dalmiya to get back to the BCCI fold after the board accused him of embezzling funds. At his moment of crisis, his gesture made the difference.