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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Cricket

Question their interest in this time of conflict
Sanjjeev K Samyal , Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 19, 2013
First Published: 00:56 IST(19/5/2013)
Last Updated: 02:11 IST(19/5/2013)

N Srinivasan sits in the president's chair at the Indian cricket board office; he's also the vice-chairman and managing director of India Cements, apart from owning the Chennai Super Kings.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the India captain, the CSK captain, employed with the India Cements and owns a player management firm, Rhiti Sports Management.

Anil Kumble is the president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, heads the Mumbai Indians team management and also owns a player management firm. Earlier, he was the mentor of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

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Recent phenomenon
Ever since the advent of the cash-rich Twenty20 league, Indian cricket has been besieged by a host of issues, conflict of interest is one of them.

As president, Srinivasan's main responsibility is defending the interest of the board at all costs. By associating himself with the T20 league as a franchisee owner, public perception is that he would not be able do a fair job. Every time there is a controversy in Indian cricket, naturally, aspersions are cast on his ability to ensure justice, and questions raised on his personal interests.

As the spot-fixing controversy spiraled out of control, on Friday, Srinivasan was again at a loss of words to defend himself when the issue was brought up by the Headlines Today anchor. "What is a conflict of interest? There is no vested interest in the BCCI, there will be no cover-up (on spot-fixing)," was Srinivasan's unconvincing reply.

Despite his claims of not allowing his personal interests to interfere, there are examples to the contrary. A national selector and former India star alleged that he had gone out of his way to save Dhoni from being sacked as India captain. The CSK angle again?

When occupying two positions, it's important to keep your decisions independent of each other. On this front, even Dhoni hasn't been able to save himself a lot of times from the public perception of the conflict of interest by wearing too many hats while being India captain. He's the highest grosser in Indian sport and he still indulges in the business of player management, where he's signed some of his teammates, leaves him vulnerable to prying eyes.

Kumble's googly
In Kumble's case, he had a clean image as a cricketer and helped India tide over the match-fixing scandal that rocked the cricket world in 2000. The country's anti-corruption officials say: "Along with Dravid and Srinath, he is the cleanest guy in India cricket. There is not even a want for this kind of money."

But, the role of KSCA president comes with responsibility, much more than his job in the league. He cannot be seen negotiating with players for a particular franchisee, especially from his own state.


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