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HindustanTimes Sat,02 Aug 2014

Cricket

Bad timing, but Srinivasan looks settled
Sanjjeev K Samyal, Hindustan Times
Bangalore, February 11, 2014
First Published: 00:49 IST(11/2/2014)
Last Updated: 16:23 IST(11/2/2014)

The findings of the Justice Mukul Mudgal probe committee couldn’t have come at a worse time for N Srinivasan. Having just led the crusade to change the functioning of world cricket ensuring more power and revenue for India, England and Australia, the focus is on the BCCI for wrong reasons.

On the verge of becoming the undisputed king of world cricket, having been anointed the chairman of the ICC’s board, Srinivasan’s image has taken a beating. However, his authority in the BCCI remains unshakeable, and hence his position in the ICC.

Who’ll bell the cat?

There is no doubt that the Mudgal committee has given a very strong issue to Srinivasan’s opponents. With the findings against his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan and his role with CSK established, clause number 11.3c of the IPL rulebook can easily be invoked and a strong case against the franchise can be made. But the point is who will bell the cat?

Given how he withstood the fury post-May when the alleged betting scandal surfaced, even the minority opposition group will not try to challenge him now, knowing the futility of it.

The procedure for taking action against the president or for that matter any member is that a Special General Body meeting has to be called and a three-fourth majority has to be established in support of the action.

There are quite a few disgruntled members in BCCI, but they don’t have a strong leader. Sharad Pawar, the man who can be the rallying point, is unlikely to take any interest in BCCI politics with the general election coming up. The change in equation, if any, will happen only in the AGM in September when Srinivasan’s term as president will come to an end and fresh elections will be due.

In between, he would have taken over a more prestigious post, the chairman of the ICC Board. “If something happens in the BCCI then only it will affect his chances in the ICC, otherwise not,” said a veteran board member.

Even his biggest critic, Lalit Modi, declared that BCCI was helpless against Srinivasan. “Everyone is scared of Srinivasan, nothing can happen in world cricket without his consent. The court has to pass the verdict (for any action against Srinivasan),” Modi said.

Improbable option

As of now, the only chance of him relinquishing his posts will be if he himself chooses to step down on moral grounds. Given the high stakes involved, with the survival of his franchise at stake, such a scenario looks improbable.

“The development will definitely give Srinivasan’s opponents a strong case to increase their verbal tirade against him, but they are not going to benefit in any way in taking action against him. There is no proof against Srinivasan,” said another board member.

The straight fallout of the new development for Srinivasan will be the headache of dealing with more court cases. First, his son-in-law Meiyappan will have to defend himself against the Mudgal committee findings. Then there will be others who may go to court challenging why action shouldn’t be taken against CSK and Srinivasan and the cycle can go on.

One thing the members are clear about is it will generate more heat on Srinivasan. “The other franchises who have been terminated, I doubt they will allow it (the issue) to die down. If some action is not taken, they will further bang the court’s doors,” said the member.

Srinivasan’s Achilles heel is not the betting case, it is the Conflict of Interest case and it is the court’s verdict on that issue which concerns him more.


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