Indian Premier League

Ten questions for N Srinivasan

ESPNcricinfo staff

May 26, 2013

Comments: 140 | Text size: A | A

On Sunday, BCCI president N Srinivasan addressed a press conference in Kolkata. It was two days after his son-in-law and Chennai Super Kings official Gurunath Meiyappan had been arrested on charges of betting, and as expected a majority of the questions related to Gurunath, his role in the franchise and Srinivasan's role in the matter at large. He answered some questions, evaded a few - raising further questions - and left when there were yet others to be asked.


N Srinivasan at a press conference in Kolkata, Kolkata, May 26, 2013
N Srinivasan said it was up to the inquiry commission to determine whether Gurunath Meiyappan was an owner of the Chennai Super Kings franchise © Hindustan Times
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Here are ten questions ESPNcricinfo has for the BCCI president. It is unlikely he will answer them but they might help him, and his colleagues at the BCCI, understand why cricket fans across India are concerned by recent events.

1. If Gurunath's sole qualification to sit in the dugout was him being "enthusiastic", what does that say about the IPL's security system, about its workings at the highest levels? How did it entitle him access to the innermost circles of the IPL - to the accreditation reserved for IPL owners, to a seat at the auction table, to a place at the IPL workshop for owners? If he was not an owner of the Super Kings, how and why did India Cements allow him owner privileges? And was the IPL not remiss in its duty in checking his antecedents given the security risks involved?

2. Gurunath is your son-in-law, he was a senior official of a team owned by a company of which you are managing director. He is now in jail on charges of betting on IPL matches and has been suspended from all involvement with cricket, especially the Chennai Super Kings. Does your close association with him not in any way tarnish the reputation of the BCCI and undermine your position there? To put it in another way: What would the IPL do had this happened with another franchise, where the owner's relative ran the team and was then arrested on betting charges? Would the franchise owner and/or the team not be sanctioned?

3. You mentioned in your statement that the "media had commented on clause 11.3 of the franchise agreement and whether Mr Gurunath is an owner of the franchise". You repeatedly pointed out that the inquiry commission will have to find that out. Are you saying you do not know who the owner of the franchise is?

4. Last Saturday, in a television interview, you condemned the three arrested cricketers in the harshest terms. You called them "dirty cricketers" for whom "no punishment is too little." "I acknowledge the fact that three cricketers have done this", you said. Today, you did not choose to talk about your son-in-law, arrested and in the lock-up, in the same words. All you did was try and distance yourself from him. No condemnation, no strong words. Can you explain this difference in treatment?


A photograph of Gurunath Meiyappan's accreditation card for IPL 2008
A photograph of Gurunath Meiyappan's accreditation card in IPL 2008
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5. A related question: Your statements in that interview suggested the problem was limited to three cricketers, who were the "bad eggs". "Just three people have done something wrong. It doesn't mean the whole IPL is bad." With Gurunath's arrest would you concede that the problem is wider and deeper, that corruption in Indian cricket is a bigger problem than you were initially willing to admit?

6. You have blamed the media for carrying out a trial but the media has given you every chance to speak, and carried your statements. In fact the media is willing to interview any BCCI or IPL official on this issue but no one is willing to talk on record. Could you tell us, for example, why the IPL chairman has not held a single press conference since the first arrests were made on May 16?

7. Why does the commission of inquiry need any BCCI representation? Given the tangled web of relations here, would not an independent commission, solely comprising non-BCCI functionaries and those not on its payrolls, be a better choice and more credible in the public eye? Also, given that the inquiry into Lalit Modi's alleged trangressions is not yet completed three years after he was sacked or he resigned, what assurance can you give us that there will be a speedy resolution?

8. On the issue of credibility - In your last six years at the BCCI, as secretary and now president, much of the IPL's workings and practices have been the matter of messy dispute - the conflict of interest issue in the Supreme Court, various foreign-exchange violations, the case against Lalit Modi, the case in the Competitions Commission of India (which the BCCI lost), the cases against two current franchises, the double exit of Sahara. Is this not a reflection of shoddy administration? Had this happened in India Cements, wouldn't heads have rolled at the top?

9. You have said that no member of the BCCI has asked for your resignation and hence the board is unified. What would be your response to Mr IS Bindra, president of the Punjab Cricket Association, a former president of the BCCI and arguably the senior most cricket administrator in the country, when he asks for your immediate resignation? On Saturday, his exact words were: "I demand that he should step down from the BCCI President's position forthwith and not cause anymore damage to Indian cricket." He is not a fugitive or a member of the media or someone with legal history against you; he is a current member of the BCCI. His statement is clear and unambiguous. Your response?

10. What is your role in the running of Chennai Super Kings? Have you ever had any direct or indirect administrative dealings with the franchise, or with its officials, coaching staff and players? Did you ever hand out bonuses or join the celebrations or perform any of the other sundry duties a team owner would perform?

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (May 31, 2013, 7:54 GMT)

Srinivasan's supporters seem to have the following points:

1. Srinivasan took permission of the BCCI Board headed by Pawar then, before bidding for the Chennai franchise on behalf of India Cemeents. He was cleared after BCCI took legal opinion to check conflict of interest.

2. When the IPL franchise model was set up by Modi, there were huge investments involved and nobody was sure about the ROI and profitability. It was a big risk and there were not many takers. A lot of people who took up the Franchises took up in good faith and on Modi's assurances to make things work. It's under this environment that India Cements bid for Chennai. Nobody ever guessed in 2008 that IPL would be such a huge money spinner. Even then Deccan Chargers went bust and had to sell their Hyderabad franchise.

Posted by Leggie on (May 28, 2013, 14:46 GMT)

@satishchandar: There is only one reason that the BCCI president should resign. A scandal of such magnitude has happened right under his nose, and if he is not even aware of it, it reflects on the poor administrative skills of him and the BCCI. If what we followed as "sequence of events" in the media is indeed right, it's not the BCCI that triggered investigations. Apparently the police stumbled on the betting scandal because of the bookies infighting. Such a large administrative lacuna calls for the BCCI president to quit.

Posted by   on (May 28, 2013, 11:19 GMT)

Gurunath seems to be a lucky enthusiast (like you say), who got chances to lift the cup, sit in the dugout, to bid for players, holding the press conference on behalf of the CSK team. Can you tell me Srini sir, when you are holding that kind of contest once again, so that I can also get chance to do like what the 'lucky' winner did for 4 + years?

Posted by   on (May 28, 2013, 10:50 GMT)

Q.11 Why did you allowed CSK to play in the finals?

Posted by madras_boy on (May 28, 2013, 10:32 GMT)

As someone pointed here, Betting and Fixing are different. This is my point of view. Betting is Legal in western countries but not in India. If Gurunath has betted on games, I don't see any problem. If he is involved in fixing games, Law should take its course as it is illegal. So, who are the real culprits. BOOKIES.... Catch them, they are middle men while players and betters are the pawns of their game.... I do bet in ladbrokes on all IPL games !!!

Posted by VJGS on (May 28, 2013, 9:44 GMT)

He can maintain whatever he wants, but this is the end for CSK. I'm a die-hard CSK fan and enjoyed every moment of CSK's IPL matches., but we all knew that it had to end sometime, just like Australia's or WI's era came to an end. It is better to end this way (scrapped from the IPL) while still having an untarnished record - made it to every IPL semi final; made it to every IPL finals played in India; only team to have a player (Raina) to have played in every single match; only team to have an unchanged captain; etc; etc; etc;

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