Scandal surrounds cricket's most powerful man
By Scyld Berry | The Daily Telegraph
18th June 2012 01:03 PM
He is about to become the most powerful man in cricket, but has suddenly found himself in a spot of bother. Timing is everything in this sport, off the field too.
Narayanaswami Srinivasan is big. Big enough to break Lalit Modi when he decided the Indian Premier League commissioner had got too big for his designer shoes.
Srinivasan is the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. As his power-base is Chennai, he is also president of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association.
He is also the boss of Chennai Super Kings, the most successful team in the IPL, as they are owned by India Cements, of which Srinivasan is Managing Director.
In India, it would be fair to say, there doesn’t seem to be a stuffed paratha in which Srinivasan doesn’t have a finger.
A couple of days ago the report into spot-fixing by IPL players, following a TV sting during this year’s competition, was submitted to Srinivasan. He will submit it to the disciplinary committee of the Indian board, which consists of three people: himself, and a couple of underlings.
Now I wonder what the outcome will be of a report that could undermine the value of the IPL franchises? A wild guess, anyone? Not quietly shelved, surely not!
And is there a conflict of interest between being an IPL franchise-owner AND chairman of the Indian board, pledged to uphold all formats of the game nationwide? Heaven forbid!
At a recent count Srinivasan sat on more than 70 boards, not least the ICC’s executive board – the biggest decision-making board in cricket – as India’s president. How does he find the time? Simple. Everybody comes to him.
When the ICC’s constitution committee had to meet, they went to Chennai. This year’s IPL final was staged in Chennai. Last year’s IPL final was staged in Chennai. The last Champions League final was staged in, of all places, Chennai. Yes, we are talking about the most powerful person in cricket.
Haroon Lorgat used to own that title. As the ICC’s chief executive, he kept India at bay, emphasised the importance of Test cricket and stopped T20 taking over the world.
Now, into the vacuum created by Lorgat’s departure from the ICC, Srinivasan is about to step. As the president of the Indian board, he will have the most influential voice in selecting the first ICC chairman, after the split between a president who waves the flag and a chairman who makes the decisions.
Should he himself be the first ICC chairman, or someone he can trust, someone who will give the IPL a seven-week window in the international calendar, unlike Lorgat? Then along comes this spot of bother, which might be related to the fact that the ruling party in Tamil Nadu, which Srinivasan has backed for years, is now in opposition.
First, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation last week summoned Srinivasan to answer questions about the disproportionate assets of the son of a former chief minister of Andra Pradhesh, Y S J Reddy, a MP and businessman who has recently been remanded in custody.
The CBI is investigating benefits that India Cements may have received in return for investing in Reddy’s companies. Srinivasan has denied that he or India Cements were involved in any wrong-doing.
It doesn’t end there. A family feud is erupting. Srinivasan, who is 67, has a son, Ashwin, 43, who recently told a Mumbai newspaper that he is gay and claimed that he has been subject to ‘constant mental and physical torture’ by his father.
Ashwin was arrested last month after a late-night bar-room brawl in Mumbai and detained overnight. He alleges this arrest, followed by police harassment, was arranged by his father. He is rumoured to have secrets to reveal that will launder the family’s dirty linen in public…
Bad timing, indeed. In a cold June in England, however, we do need something to divert us from all the rain.
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