One power struggle too many costs Srinivasan
BCCI president Shashank Manohar is set to replace N Srinivasan for the remainder of the latter's term as ICC chairman. Manohar will occupy the position till end of June next year. The BCCI also appointed former ICC president Sharad Pawar as the second nominee to attend ICC meetings in case Manohar was unavailable.
Srinivasan became the world body's inaugural chairman in June 2014, immediately after the ICC revamp devised by the Big Three - comprising India, England and Australia - was put in place. Despite becoming an isolated figure within the BCCI circles in the last year - especially since the Supreme Court, investigating the 2013 IPL corruption scandal, barred him from contesting re-election as the board's president - Srinivasan continued to be the BCCI representative at the ICC board. His nomination was confirmed by the BCCI in June at the ICC AGM, in Barbados.
But since his meeting with former BCCI and ICC president Sharad Pawar in Nagpur on September 23, Srinivasan's fall has been ominous and swift. The meeting between the two heavyweight administrators fueled speculations of an alliance in the wake of the sudden death of Jagmohan Dalimiya. A few days later, though, Manohar emerged as the unanimous choice, trumping Srinivasan.
On October 4, while taking over formally as BCCI president, Manohar and BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, who had a few run-ins with Srinivasan, expressed they had no intention of having a vindictive attitude. Srinivasan and his supporters subsequently withdrew a case of perjury filed against Thakur in the Supreme Court.
Still, Manohar's resolve to clear the cobwebs of conflict of interest was the first signal that the current power structure within the board wanted to erase all signs of Srinivasan and appear as a diametrically opposite administration. The exit of Sundar Raman, a Srinivasan confidante and one of the architects of the Big Three position paper which set into motion the ICC revamp, was another step in that direction, culminating in Srinivasan's own removal on Monday.
Srinivasan said he respected the BCCI's decision, but refused to comment on Manohar's candidature. "When you are at the ICC, you are sent by the BCCI. It's for BCCI to effect the changes in representation. One has to respect that," Srinivasan told ESPNcricinfo. "All these posts are tenure-bound. So, therefore one has to be conscious of it."
Srinivasan said he was satisfied and "proud" of the work he had put in, and that he was "particularly proud of the contribution I have made for BCCI." According to Srinivasan, the ICC had evolved into a powerful entity following the sweeping constitutional reforms which were controversially introduced in June 2014. "I think the ICC is much stronger today. ICC is truly a members' organisation," he said.
"I think we had a very harmonious board, and I have deep respect for all other board members who worked with me, and in particular [thankful for] the co-ordinated efforts taken by chairman (ECB) Giles Clarke and chairman (Cricket Australia) Wally Edwards along with me in delivering excellent value for the media rights tender. It is definitely a high point."
The sequence of events that led to Srinivasan losing his stranglehold as a cricket administrator following a decade in power did not surprise BCCI officials. "This had to happen," an official said. "You can't have a person who has had this kind of relationship with the BCCI for a long time. He can't represent the BCCI. It is untenable."
The official said Srinivasan's stance against Manohar and Thakur was inappropriate. "For the last six-seven months, he has consistently been at odds against the people running the BCCI. He has had a contrary view. So how can he represent the BCCI?"
One example the official provided was the ICC chief executive Dave Richardson sending a letter to Thakur asking him to stay away from suspected bookies after a picture of him in the company of an alleged bookie emerged. Thakur responded vehemently denying any wrongdoing and instead asked Srinivasan to share the details of suspected bookies with his own family members.
Nonetheless, a veteran administrator who has worked with both Srinivasan and Manohar felt that India's clout at the ICC level would remain strong despite Srinivasan's exit, stating that the BCCI's power did not revolve around around one individual. "It is the Indian clout, not Srinivasan that allows India to have a bigger say," the administrator said.
When asked if Manohar, who has not been to the ICC by his own admission for half a decade, would adapt easily to the workings and fit into the Big Three's vision, the administrator said Manohar had been "very effective" in his dealings at the ICC during his first stint as BCCI president.
While Srinivasan refrained from speculating on his future in cricket administration, he said his cement business would occupy much of his time hereon. "There is a large business I am involved in, which also demands a lot of attention," he said. "I have looked at all this [cricket administration] as a job and responsibility. Like I say in lighter fashion, I will try and improve my golf. If I have neglected anything in these last eight years, it's my golf."
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo; Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo