Corruption in the IPL June 1, 2013

Real 'men of cricket' walk away

Team Srini may have been driven by the power of one man, but it may fall apart because of the credibility of two
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BCCI president N Srinivasan's resignation drama has taken a startling, revelatory turn. Srinivasan's key commandants - secretary Sanjay Jagdale and treasurer Ajay Shirke, No 2 and 3 in the board - quit their posts on Friday evening.

Their resignations have come in protest at what Indian cricket and the BCCI had gone through over the past two weeks, both outside and inside. Irrespective of whether their quitting was a tactical or emotional move, Shirke and Jagdale have acted in a manner uncharacteristic of most BCCI officials in these dark days.

Unlike IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla, they do not work in the limelight. Unlike Srinivasan, they have not held on to their posts using fail-safe responses - "let the law take its course" and "I have done nothing wrong." Unlike many others, their career paths in the BCCI did not involve seeking high office.

This is the first time in recent memory that BCCI officials so high up in the hierarchy have stepped down from their posts because of "hurt", "sadness" and "disappointment" around issues striking at the heart of Indian cricket. Not something to do with personal enmities, thwarted aspirations or electoral skirmishes.

Shirke and Jagdale rose to prominent BCCI office with Srinivasan's presidency in September 2011, and were considered capable and honest men. They came to the BCCI from different routes, one a former first-class cricketer, the other a businessman. Shirke is irked by the fact that following Gurunath Meiyappan's arrest, there has been no move towards collective decision-making in the Board, no call for any emergency meetings. Jagdale is distressed that Indian cricket and its many upright cricketers are being dragged through the mud.

Shirke will remain Maharashtra Cricket Association president; other than being managing committee member of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association, Jagdale holds no other BCCI office and can now return to his preferred pastimes of watching matches and reading books of cricket history.

Ever since Meiyappan was arrested, it is known that several high-level BCCI officials had talked regularly to Srinivasan, asking him to stand aside from his office for a month until the investigation was completed. He refused and as days passed, the response to his intransigence went from bewilderment to annoyance and frustration. The two who sought power the least went first. See, Mr President, that's how easy resignation is. You reach a point of no return and you say "that's it, I quit."

After a series of loaded comments, obfuscations and leaked pieces of information from others, Shirke and Jagdale's took decisive executive action. Their resignation sent out a simple message. Whatever happens in the power struggle of the future, the higher ground cannot belong to Srinivasan.

The resignations must sting him. After days of resisting the move, he was made to call for a working committee meeting only on Friday. Now two of his most sincere and least ambitious lieutenants do not want to be part of Team Srini anymore. Srinivasan remains, like he has wanted, the head of the BCCI but today is without the most solid pillars of his administration. Team Srini may have been driven by the power of one man, but it may fall apart because of the credibility of two.

Wherever this ends, whatever gains Srinivasan can eke out of these resignations, he has now lost his biggest calling card as a cricket administrator. The phrase most commonly cited to praise him (and to ensure that his ends justified his means) was that Srinivasan was a "man of cricket." Caught in the IPL's corruption scandal, Srinivasan has pushed the interests of cricket aside and emerged, predictably, as a "man of power." The board's genuine high-ranking "men of cricket" just walked away.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sumgad on June 2, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    Cricket in India..in all its varieties whether test, one day or IPL..has been turned into a masses game..with hundreds of screaming,jostling and dancing spectators.This image of cricket and its popularity has brought in dodgy practices and has upset the purists. The challenge for Indian cricket is to whet the appetite of masses without compromising the essential class and dignity of cricket.Who can do it for India? It is perhaps,time to hand in reins to cricketers.But,do they have the talent and skills in other fields to keep the masses pouring into stadiums ?

  • Kirk-at-Lords on June 2, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    Sharda Ugra is best at giving a blow-by-blow account of cricketing politics. What is lacking here is taking a step back and seeing what is REALLY demanded of cricket leadership. Harsha Bhogle in his recent commentary (http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/638396.html) came much closer to the mark with his perception that a typical political compromise and sweep under the rug will do a huge disservice to the needs of the cricket. I agree with those who see Shirke and Jagdale as smaller players who events prompted for a brief moment to take a slightly larger and (for an instant) crucial role. I thank them for that, and for Sharda's perceptive coverage of it. But these two are not the real "men of cricket" that are so desperatly needed to stride boldly into the breach thus created. It could be ones like Kumble, but with their fingers in so many pies it seems unlikely. Now is the time for the truly pure and unsullied to step up: Dravid, Tendulkar, possibly VVS to lead.

  • Clyde on June 2, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    I think Srinivasin does have something on his side. 'Ethics', or a certain kind of them, should not become totalitarian. IPL could continue, smaller, as a faction. Nothing wrong with that. They would do things their way. Test cricket and State would go on. It is the outlawing of influence, after all, that makes it dangerous. Does influence have to be covered only by police reporters, in a dark and semi-dark world? I would like to see, by the end of this crisis, a system of influence laid bare and not stigmatised. More of a 'facts of life' approach, and not so much horror story.

  • MaheshVenkat on June 2, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    @IndCricFan, @Ranjit Saini - well appointing cricketers is not a solution. Take KSCA for example, Kumble and Srinath at the helm. No response from them on this issue so far. The rot has set so deep within that we have lost all principles of governance. Kumble has so many conflicts of interests such as being KSCA president, heads a sports talent management company which handles cricketers, runs coaching academies, mentor of Mumbai Indians, ICC cricket committee member, etc. Now we don'r even realise that there is a conflict of interest, We only talk of personal integrity and credentials of Kumble. It is a sad situation indeed!!

  • InnocentGuy on June 2, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    I think you are drawing conclusions and stating assumptions based on what is seen by the naked eye. There is nothing legally wrong in Srinivasan holding on to his post. it may not be in the best interest of the game per se, but if he really has not broken any laws, why should he step down? Why would he?

    And as pointed out by many commenters below, where were these "men of cricket" while so many other scandals and cases appeared in Indian cricket? May be they are honest men, but to say they are just because they resigned their posts, is stupidity. How do you know they haven't done this just so they can mount the pressure on Srinivasan and collectively push him out and take back their positions and rise up faster?

  • ahweak on June 2, 2013, 1:37 GMT

    Where were these real men of cricket when the BCCI constitution was changed to allow Srinivasan to buy an IPL team while being on the board?

  • dummy4fb on June 2, 2013, 1:35 GMT

    Can Sharda please also write an article about RAJIV SHUKLA being one of those 'real men of cricket' for walking away? Thank you!!

  • dummy4fb on June 1, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    I don't believe that Srinivasan is the right man for the job, he is a political character. But..Why should Srinivasan resign? When it was found that Azharuddin and Jadeja had fixed matches, did the then BCCI boss resign?

  • dummy4fb on June 1, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    Well. I dont think journalists should push their opinions on people either. When you do.. you're misusing the power that you have. doesnt make you very different from the politicians that you're accusing of abusing power!

  • ARad on June 1, 2013, 18:48 GMT

    Let's not put people in pedestal for their pointless resignation. These individuals have been going along with the excesses of BCCI thus far, e.g., BCCI installing their paid employees to be TV commentators and an IPL team's cricket ambassador being the (ex) chief selector. Now they are just running away rather than clean up when (uninformed) public opinion is unfavorable. Jagdale, according to another article on cricinfo, has said that he won't come back to BCCI even if things settle down after all. Also CRICPULI's comment below is right on target re. the unfairness of expecting Srinivasan to resign at this point. Criminals should be punished and BCCI/IPL could use more oversight/monitoring and structural adjustments but unfair scapegoating will not accomplish anything given the fact that we don't have the details yet. OTOH, not convening an immediate committee meeting and the "news conferences are about goodwill" comments are the only concretely known faults of Srinivasan so far.

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