BCCI ban made me more determined - Modi
Lalit Modi, the newly-elected president of Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA), has said that the life ban slapped on him by the BCCI last year strengthened his resolve to fight back. In an interview with ESPNcricinfo in London, Modi revealed that he wanted to "prove a point" to his detractors, chiefly N Srinivasan, the BCCI president who was himself forced to step aside by the Supreme Court in March.
"When the BCCI banned me, I had to prove a point," Modi said. "[I wanted to] show to everybody that banning me does not mean that I am going to stay away. It actually gave me greater resolve to fight them."
Modi and Srinivasan's bitter enmity has spilled over into the public sphere over the months, with both men sparing no words while criticising the other. Srinivasan called Modi a "fugitive" and said his words hold no credibility. Modi said he was not one to take such a punch lying down, and his intention was to unseat Srinivasan, who he said had a vice-like grip over not only the BCCI but even the ICC. "All they [Srinivasan's administration] are doing right now is to trying to fix everything: whether it is the game, the establishment, the meetings. Everything has become a one-man show. They are now trying to do the same at the ICC. To me that is just unacceptable. I just love the game. And hence cannot keep quiet."
For the first time, Modi has also said that he was actively supporting the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) who have taken the BCCI and Srinivasan to the Supreme Court for their alleged mismanagement of the 2013 IPL corruption scandal. Modi said, "I have given CAB full support. I am with them, talking with them, strategising with them, providing them with documentation."
Srinivasan, Modi said, had accumulated so much power that no one within the BCCI dared to oppose him. He even went as far as to suggest that it was his incessant opposition to Srinivasan that had resulted in the court sidelining the BCCI president. "We have got to a stage where we need to remove the operation being run by N Srinivasan. If it wasn't for me fighting him from London it [Srinivasan being asked to step aside by the Supreme Court] would not have happened in the first place. If I hadn't supported all the people who are fighting him, he would not have been pushed into a corner like right now."
Modi also challenged the notion that he did not really have many friends left within the BCCI. "Says who? I have many friends in the BCCI. A lot of them are afraid to come out and have their hands chopped off by Srinivasan. But for now we will take it one day at a time.
"Me winning in the RCA and then standing back and watching the BCCI falling apart … that is not me. I am cut out be a fighter and I am going to take on whoever tries to take us down."
Modi said that he was aware the BCCI was bound to challenge his election and bar the RCA. The Supreme Court said last week the BCCI could challenge the RCA poll results "in an appropriate forum", and board insiders pointed out that they were working on that. But Modi said that the BCCI could not stop him from taking charge at the RCA. "Let them try. I am not afraid of that fight. I have not been afraid of any fight. If they want to not cancel our affiliation, let them do that. That does not mean cricket in Rajasthan is going to stop.
"What are they going to do: not allow us to play matches? We are going to fight for our rights and fight for our boys."
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo