BCCI treasurer considers resigning
BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke is mulling resigning his post because of the manner in which the board handled the betting charges against the arrested Chennai Super Kings official, Gurunath Meiyappan, who is N Srinivasan's son-in-law, and the spot-fixing charges against the three Rajasthan Royals players. Shirke has held his office since October 1, 2011, the day N Srinivasan became president.
"I will wait and see for the time being. If the board continues to ignore what I consider is primary responsibility, I will find it difficult for myself to be associated with it," Shirke told ESPNcricinfo. "It is an evolving situation, so I will wait and see.
"A few days, maybe within a week, I will make up my mind. If there's going to be more and more room for fingers to be pointed away, I will have to take a call. That doesn't mean I will run away from fulfilling my responsibilities, but and I cannot let my personal reputation and credibility be tarnished. That for me stands above everything else."
While calls for Srinivasan's resignation have been getting louder, he has repeatedly declined to resign. Though the BCCI constituted a three-member commission, which includes two former Tamil Nadu High Court judges, to probe the complaints against Meiyappan, the Super Kings owners India Cements and the Rajasthan Royals owners, Shirke highlighted the deficiency in the board's handling of the matter.
"I am not satisfied. Normally whenever there's a crisis - small, major, any kind of crisis - we call for a (working committee) meeting," Shirke said. "And we have had many such crises - of sponsors pulling out, or of an IPL franchise being disbanded. On every such occasion, the president calls for a meeting, and the issue is discussed in great detail by every member of the working committee. That has been the prevalent way.
"Even when the players were arrested, there was an emergent meeting. Then we had a follow-up meeting in Chennai. Then the president came up to the media and explained all the measures that had been taken. After this, there hasn't been anything on this (Gurunath arrest) issue. If the president calls for a meeting and puts his views across and hears out the other units - you don't necessarily need to change your position - it would follow the proper procedure. Otherwise, the media trial will go on and on.
"I have made my stance very clear on it. If I was Srinivasan and my son-in-law was arrested, I would have stepped aside till the internal probe was over."
Shirke said the BCCI reaction to Meiyappan's arrest had been "more damaging" than the player arrests. "What has been happening is, people who have no knowledge about the functioning of the board have been referring to the board as a sham, a body of hoodlums and goons, which is very unfair. I don't want to name anybody but if such people start talking about the way Indian cricket is administered, then people are bound to be misguided. We know how much of an effort we put into running the board.
"I can vouch for myself and all my colleagues for making it one of the most credible and most professionally-run sporting bodies in the country by a distance. We don't get government grants, we pay huge taxes to the government, we generate foreign exchange of around Rs 350 crore every year and we have not just created top-quality infrastructure all over the country but have also maintained all those assets in top conditions.
"To top it all, the sport that we represent is the only sport where India is consistently among top teams in the world. On such a backdrop, how can you make a general statement like BCCI is nothing but a sham and refer to every member as a hoodlum? If you have a comparative analysis of BCCI and any other top sports federation in India in terms of audited accounts, quality and method of financial statements, number of elected members running the sport by one of the top private auditing firms, you will realise what all good has the BCCI been doing.
"That doesn't mean there are no issues and problems and complexities to be addressed. There are plenty of ways wherein we can improve going into the future and we are striving for that. But anyone coming on camera and slamming the board is very unfair."
The spot-fixing scandal came to light when Delhi Police arrested three Rajasthan Royals cricketers within hours after the Royals' match against Mumbai Indians at Wankhede Stadium on May 15. Several bookies and an actor were arrested after that, and Meiyappan was arrested by Mumbai Police on May 24.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo