October 16, 2013

'I'm honest, and I stand up for what I believe is right'

BCCI president N Srinivasan, currently in the eye of more than one storm, speaks about India's South Africa tour, the board producing TV telecasts, and the health of the game in the country
41

Can you describe how the last few months have been for you?
Since I had stepped aside from cricket, I was able to play golf. Administering the BCCI and running my own business takes a lot of time. So my spare time got eaten into. So the truth is, during this period I could afford to try to get my swing back again.

You have been a successful businessman for most of your life. In that part of life you are generally in control of your affairs, your writ runs unchallenged. But in the last few months have you found yourself feeling vulnerable, exposed? Was it one of the tougher periods in your life?
I won't call it tough or difficult. I felt I had been unfairly attacked. Continuous attack on me. As I said somewhere, one particular paper had about 90 pieces written about me, 11-12 editorials, and I was occupying the entire front page for 10-11 days. This has never happened in independent India. Am I worth that much of coverage? I am not that big a businessman. BCCI is not that big.

Cricket is big.
Cricket is big, I agree, but not to this extent.

Why do you feel you were unfairly targeted?
Unfair because somewhere along the line I think some amount of focus was lost. I had announced clearly that I was not an accused. I had not done anything wrong, and then I stepped aside. And then the BCCI working committee, at a meeting which I did not attend because I had stepped aside, appointed this probe commission. Somehow it got represented as if I [appointed it]. I did not. They appointed the probe commission, and then events followed. Somebody went to court, then it went to Supreme Court etc. So how am I to be blamed for that?

The perception that was that you were still…
No, I had stepped aside. You must understand this, really. If you talk to members of the BCCI, you will understand very clearly that once I stepped aside, I was away. This meeting was held in Kolkata. The secretary was there, other members were there. I was nowhere to be seen, and neither was I in touch.

They appointed the commission, and they followed up and then the report was given. I didn't see the report, I was not present when the report was given. I was hands off. I was out of the picture. I had stepped aside, the BCCI was run by others.

But these were all your colleagues, a lot of them worked under you and you have influence.
That is wrong. That is where I say it was unfair. Because I was very correct, proper. I was absolutely proper in this matter.

Even when you stepped aside, you suggested that it was unfair to ask you to step aside. You said, "I am not a accused, why should I step aside?"
But then I did [step aside]. That was my initial reaction, but then I said, all right. I did not mind it. The rest is history.

There were two different reactions from the BCCI to two different cases. One involved the players, one involved the team owners.
I was involved in the disciplinary committee, I am not involved in the other one. So that cannot be laid at my doorstep.

I am asking you this question as a matter of your personal opinion. Looking at it from the outside, can you now say that the standards were different?
I cannot comment on this as this is sub judice.

What is sub judice now is the case, not the manner in which the commission was appointed.
Everything is connected. I have to be very careful, and I am, because I do not want in the least bit for anybody to petition - be it the court or anybody - to [say] that I am trying to influence things. So this is hands off for me. I accepted it. Supreme Court has said, you co-operate but stay out. Yes sir. And I genuinely believe that.

It is clear that nobody accused you of anything. The question was how it was perceived. It was a matter of propriety more than anything legal.
Even that propriety, you must understand… If I express myself freely on this, I will again be travelling to certain areas I should not be. Inevitably. Please understand my caution in this. I have to be cautious. I have to watch it.

It has been an issue that has come up repeatedly since the IPL started. And this is a question I have to ask you, again. Legally, technically or constitutionally, there's nothing wrong with India Cements [owning Chennai Super Kings], because the BCCI approved that. But there is the conflict-of-interest question.
That is also before the Supreme Court. AC Muthiah has filed a petition going up and down. That's before the Supreme Court. I can't enter these areas. You have to understand, you are interviewing me at a time when [there are] certain topics I shouldn't speak about.

The fact is that Indian cricket has made news for the wrong reasons in the last three or four years, and that it has dominated the front pages. Would it not be fair to say that it is a reflection on the administration? Most of these issues relate to governance.
I don't think so. Unfortunately I can't elaborate on some of these topics. What I say is, let these matters get settled, and I will address this then. I will address it when I am able to speak. You have to give me that opportunity. I can't talk when matters are sub judice.

When the Supreme Court order came and cleared you to take up office again, what was your immediate feeling?
I was pleased. People who have known me for a long time will believe what I say. In the sense that I am a person who has always focused on what to do next. I don't carry any grudges, I don't have any such feelings at all. That's how I am. People who have known me for years will attest to it. I will just move on. This happened, okay, fine, I dealt with it, I am glad, I am back, I go on.

There's a perception that you never forgive.
First and foremost, I never get upset. Words like "forgive" and things like that, I don't know in what context people are saying that. But those who have moved with me will know that this is not true. Those who have moved with me and know me for a very long time will carry a different impression.

A former colleague of yours, a former BCCI president you have worked with, has called you an autocrat.
Yeah, I read it. But I will not comment on what someone else says.

"We don't censor commentators. This word "censorship" is incorrect. BCCI doesn't tell the commentator, you say this, you cannot say this, and things like that"

That is not sub judice.
But I am not an autocrat. I don't want to get into debates. I have a job to do, and I will do my job. I realise this is not a permanent job. This is not my bread and butter, it's an honorary job.

How important was it for you to come back as president for the final year?
I am entitled to a term, and I think I am entitled to finish it. So I do not think it wrong.

Is it right to say you're not somebody who will give up a fight easily? That you're combative, you don't step back?
I'll put it differently. I stand up for what I believe is right. And I think the rest of me all of you have seen. I am honest, very honest. And, I think my character has been seen in the last few months.

Why do you think there is such a different perception of you in the outside world?
I don't know. See, I have generally been a private person. I think anybody in media would agree that I am a private person. I don't have a favourite journalist to whom I give information, or to whom I give a scoop. If I speak, I speak in front of all. This is all that I have done, and I have administered the game.

My background is cricket. India Cements got involved in cricket 50 years ago when there was not a naya paisa for cricketers. We employed cricketers. We ran cricket teams in the league and we continue to do so. Not contracts, actual employment. So that [when] he finishes playing cricket, he works. Now India Cements owns the Chennai Super Kings, it is world known, but it is probably the 14th team we are running. Our interest is not because there is glamour in cricket, my interest is not because of the publicity attached to it. We have been supporting cricket passionately, the whole company is full of cricket enthusiasts, somehow or the other. And for 50 years - this is the second generation, my father was interested and I continued it. So this is where I come from, we enjoy watching the league matches together, so it is [as a] complete enthusiast.

Does public opinion bother you?
See, I can't do anything about that. It doesn't affect me. It doesn't affect me because when I am not in BCCI I will not merit one line in any newspaper, so why must I worry about the 20 lines now?

Since you're the president of the BCCI, I must ask you this: Why does the BCCI feel the need to control the message? Why must the BCCI run its own TV production? The harshest way of putting it is that there is a censorship about what commentators can say, what they cannot.
No, no. This I will address because I think it is important. Why did the BCCI start producing? Television production was disorganised. It wasn't professional. There were lots of freelancers involved, the production house was just coordinating things. We wanted to make it systematic and we wanted domestic cricket covered professionally so that we can monitor performances, evaluate umpires…

But the fallout of this has been a de facto control over the commentators.
We don't censor commentators. This word "censorship" is incorrect. BCCI doesn't tell the commentator, you say this, you cannot say this, and things like that. But if there was an instance and if you were to come to know about it, please feel free to bring to my attention.

Ian Chappell has said it on record.
What has he said? Ian Chappell is not employed by us. We have never said anything to him. We are talking about people employed by us.

He said there are three things you can't talk about. You can't talk about the DRS, the selection, and the administration. He said he was told this by Star.
I can't comment on that. You have to ask Star.

The broad point is that former cricketers and experts are hired to give their opinion. But in the current set-up, they are not allowed to express their opinions freely.
You're asking me the wrong question. You're asking the wrong person. BCCI doesn't tell the commentator anything. We produce domestically. BCCI in no way interferes with the freedom of the press. But a commentator should be a commentator, and a journalist should be a journalist.

What's the difference there?
See, we do not interfere with selection. There is a selection committee. People select. Now if someone comments on it, they are not commenting on BCCI, so it doesn't worry me.

Now BCCI's position on DRS is very well-known. I have articulated on this several times. Many commentators in the western world and other geographies have supported DRS and criticised the BCCI. I have taken it. I have not said anything, I have not got upset, I have noticed it. But that doesn't change our view. Our view was logical. And I am very happy to say we stand vindicated.

So will you go to the board meeting and push for the DRS to be abolished?
I feel the DRS was not sufficiently good. Even assuming it is 100% reliable - which it is not, my view always was that - if you give two referrals, then generally batsmen up the order will take it. And it really may not be [ideal] for eliminating a howler. And I said, if it's only two referrals, then it is a lottery. If you want, first you decide to refer every decision.

So there are a lot of things wrong, apart from the technology - even the two referrals, the one referral in an ODI, how does it help? So there's that luck element, and this was my position and it remains. If India plays, DRS is not there, and if two other teams play and they want a faulty system, why should I stop it?

It's a question of how cricket is played around the world.
This is where I say I am not a bully, I don't force my view on others.

When it comes to the DRS, there's a perception that the BCCI is opposed to the DRS but Indian cricketers aren't. Can you please clarify?
The question of the DRS comes up at the Cricket Committee [CC] meeting in the ICC. At the CC, players give their view, then administrators have their view, etc. The BCCI view is this.

Another controversial topic, the South Africa tour. I know that talks are currently on and maybe the tour will take place. But that's not the point. The point is, why has it come to this?
I am glad you asked this question. One of the reasons was we felt that we should be [playing] more international cricket in India during our season, and there should be a balance between inbound and outbound tours. And we felt that this year we had very little international cricket [in India], and therefore we needed to supplement it, so we invited the West Indies. This was the thought process.

If you look at our calendar, we'll be hosting Australia, then the West Indies, then we are supposed to go to South Africa, then New Zealand, come back and play Asia Cup, play the World Twenty20, come for IPL, go to England. It was a very long, tough programme, so we also wanted to lessen the strain if possible. Unfortunately there was a lot of media speculation on whether the tour is on etc, and on news emanating from South Africa. We did not make any comment. We did not say anything about this. In fact, until now we have said nothing. But so much has been written, so much been said, things attributed, so how would I summarise it? There are some challenges.

You have announced the New Zealand schedule, the England schedule was announced, and the South Africa tour is before that, and that's the only thing that is stuck.
There are some challenges, as I said. We are meeting them. Let us see what happens.

How much has it got to do with Haroon Lorgat?
I want to make one thing clear. We are not anyone to say who should or should not be the chief executive of another board. But there are some challenges. Maybe after discussions I might talk about it. I should not prejudice the discussions by talking about it now. So talk to me in a few days' time. I don't want to discuss it now.

In your final year, what's your vision for Indian cricket?
The last several years have been very good for Indian cricket. If you look at the positives, we won the World Cup, we won the Champions Trophy.

India also lost two series - 8-0.
In retrospect, we probably didn't have enough preparatory time in England when we went there. The injury list was a little long, we had fitness problems for our major players. The Indian team was in transition.

I think we have come out strongly after that. It has recouped well, as has been seen from the recent form. A lot of development for cricket has happened - infrastructure, new stadiums, cricket has gone to all states, our development programmes are very good, our age-group programmes are doing very well, we are encouraging our senior players to play domestic leagues also, we have a lot of A team tours to other countries so that they can acclimatise themselves to different conditions, particularly South Africa, Australia. We have won the U-19 World Cup, our bench strength is strong. IPL has improved our players. For example, the Champions Trophy was an example where in the last-over finishes our team displayed tremendous capacity.

There are a lot of positives. Indian cricket is looking good, spectator support has been good, people have come and watched matches. We are also putting in place systems, NCA is getting more active, zonal academies are also functioning. So it's a beehive of activities going on here. All of it is coordinated. There is an umpire's academy that is in place.

"We are not anyone to say who should or should not be the chief executive of another board. But there are some challenges. Maybe after discussions I might talk about it"

So all this is what is helping. You can't say this one item of work has helped. It is a sum total that is resulting in a strong bench strength - spotting talent, training them, enough games to play, enough exposure to the outside world, so the good players are able to come and they are coming up now.

I know you are a fan of Test cricket. Do you have concerns about Test cricket's future?
Not in India alone but all around the world. Because if it has to survive, it has to survive globally.

I always say the total eyeballs on cricket has increased substantially. We have three products: Test cricket, ODI cricket and now T20 cricket. What some people seem to be disappointed in is that not all three products are market leaders in all parts of the world. That is not possible. There are some places where these products might not find acceptance. But in India, all three are good. India contributes a lot to the cricket economy. All three of them are doing well here. It is also for those people [in other countries] locally to address why this is happening.

As far as I am concerned, for me Test cricket is always the best.

Are you satisfied with where Indian Test cricket is? Do you think the next set of players will be as passionate about Test cricket in India? Tell me that as a cricket lover and not as the president of the BCCI.
I don't see lack of enthusiasm. But if you say, will you produce the Dravids, Laxmans, Tendulkars and Gangulys immediately, I don't know. But I think there is enough talent that the players will keep coming.

Will the BCCI make it a priority to focus on Test cricket?
BCCI focuses on Test cricket.

But do you also have a vision for the global game? Or do you want to solely focus on Indian cricket?
The ICC are focusing on the global game. They want to give primacy to Test cricket, which I fully support. The reaction of the spectator is different in different geographies. People are trying their level best in seeing how to increase the level of enthusiasm for the game.

India is the leader in the global game, but the feeling is India doesn't do enough in the global arena. It is not a global leader in that sense.
The problem here is, one group of people says we are taking too much leadership, we are throwing our weight around. Other group says we are not doing enough.

I think we are acting responsibly. India is a very responsible member of the ICC.

Cricket is a small game. But there is a clear divide between the rich and the poor. And there are only three boards in the world who are self-sufficient. There are four or five countries that are literally on the dole. That disparity is becoming bigger and bigger.
The fact that cricket doesn't evoke the same enthusiasm and response from spectators in all geographies is a matter of concern. There are countries where cricket was so popular once upon a time and now you find empty stadiums. At the ICC level we are looking into this very seriously to see what are the issues that have to be addressed to remedy and set this right.

Rahul Dravid recently made a suggestion that each of the boards that has money and players could adopt a board each, like India could adopt Bangladesh, Australia could adopt New Zealand, to bring them up to standard.
You are talking about two different things now. One is, you are talking about the global game and how to bring the spectator back. The other aspect is the quality of the teams. The ICC has now put in place a targeted assistance programme to assist some of these nations to better develop their cricket, if funding was an issue, which India has supported. This funding is for facilities, training academies. This has been started recently and the BCCI has supported it fully. And this is possibly not far from what Rahul is saying.

What would you want your legacy to be in Indian cricket and world cricket?
I don't consider myself such a great leader or something to talk about legacies. As long as people realise that our interest was solely cricket, and we worked hard for Indian cricket, and thereby also helped consolidate world cricket, I would be happy.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Greatest_Game on October 21, 2013, 13:09 GMT

    @ TheOnlyEmperor writes "This reminds me of the guy who professed the concept of tolerance, but was intolerant when people disagreed with him."

    Although the Emperor complains about cricinfo, he has unintentionally painted a portrait of Srinivasan, international cricket's best known & most visible example of intolerance.

    It is scarcely believable that the India that led international cricket's opposition to apartheid, the India that was synonymous with integrity & ethics, has become the India whose cricket board relentlessly bullies SA because it's CEO, a man who stood up in opposition to and challenged apartheid - dared disagree with, and stand up to, one N. Srinivasan.

    Were it not for apartheid, Lorgat, a brilliant all-rounder, would have played international cricket. Unfortunately, international cricket, led by India's Srinivasan, now plays him.

  • ladycricfan on October 21, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    1) Who is a better owner of an IPL team, india cements with experience in managing cricket teams or priety zinta with no experience in cricket?

    2) Who will make a better cricket administrator, Srinivasan (a businessman with experience in managing cricket who also played cricket) or Pawar (a politician with no history of managing cricket teams and who never played cricket).

    I think instead of all the accusations of conflict of interest, more people like Srinivasan should be involved in BCCI administration. More companies like India cements should own IPL teams. Plenty of business houses participate in BCCI corporate trophy. They should be encouraged to buy IPL teams.

  • Gevelsis on October 18, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    "I don't hold grudges"!!! What a laugh. What a slippery customer, butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. If it was a Monday and this man told me it was a Monday, I would check the calendar.

  • ladycricfan on October 18, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    Srinivasan was elected as president unanimously. All the south zone associations were unanimous. all 29 members were unanimous in the AGM.Even Manohar's outburst shows he couldn't get enough support to contest against Srinivasan.Don't you think people in the BCCI know Srinivasan better than those outside?

  • vivekk83 on October 17, 2013, 20:26 GMT

    I wasn't surprised when he was re-elected. He has reached this position after carefully plotting everymove for the last 15-20 years. Check the article on Sharada Ugra on his rise to the top post. As wil comments from folks on being dishonest.. If we committed an act that is not right, 99.99% of the times, we aren't gonna hold up our hand and say i did it or there could be people like Peter who brought a sad end to himself.He has been part of the set-up and will not go away after the prez.term considering India cements legacy.You need to play your political cards right,else could be banished like Dalmia/Muthiah,which he wouldn't want considering his roots for the game.He may not be a morally self righteous individual ( which we want everyone else to be) but understands the game better than most administrators.Importantly,he has been a generous boss to all the team members (players) with the benefits doled out.Smart business man with Passion & "interest" has done more good to Indian cric

  • Harmony111 on October 17, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    A second reading of this interview with a bit more focus made me realize that Srini is quite a champion with words. He knows exactly what to say and how. If brevity is indeed the soul of wit then Srini comes across as quite an erudite here. The way he handled some of the questions shows he would have made a great diplomat. Leaving the ball well is also an integral part of high quality batting, isn't it?

    Srini's views on DRS came out very well here. I would really like to see what the RoW says for this point. He is quite right in saying that BCCI does not want to use a faulty system and he is not stopping from others if they want to play the game using a faulty system, there is absolutely nothing wrong in this stance. I will not drive wearing a helmet with an paque vizor and if you want to drive wearing that and then meet with an accident then don't complain.

    Srini sounded rather humble when he said he was not that big to talk about legacies. He got some flaws but he is no villain.

  • Rohit42 on October 17, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    When i read the headlines of this article, i thought this was a Page 2 news

  • Lets_Bash_Indians on October 17, 2013, 15:47 GMT

    N Srinivasan & BCCI are complete Arrogant & armed with Financial powers that they can change FTPs of ICC. Well Thats Something I really proud of, Yes BCCI is Bully, ,,&,Come on its Better to Be A BULLY,rather than Get Bullied \m/ (#proud BCCI follower)

  • anton_ego on October 17, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    I am a huge critique of Srinivasan.. But one thing I believe in strongly is to give him time to come out clean (or whichever way the judgement goes), bcoz all accused need judicial space. I find it annoying to see him hounded by media everywhere he goes. Even Nixon wudnt have been hounded this much. It is doing no good. The media keeps hounding to come up with some headlines. And he just runs away without saying anything. If media is truly concerned about cricket, uncover some stories. Get some anonymous sources from BCCI and support your exposé with genuine proof. But this hounding does no good to anyone. This shows the cheap side of Indian media as well.

  • ThyrSaadam on October 17, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    Nice joke to start the day off

  • Greatest_Game on October 21, 2013, 13:09 GMT

    @ TheOnlyEmperor writes "This reminds me of the guy who professed the concept of tolerance, but was intolerant when people disagreed with him."

    Although the Emperor complains about cricinfo, he has unintentionally painted a portrait of Srinivasan, international cricket's best known & most visible example of intolerance.

    It is scarcely believable that the India that led international cricket's opposition to apartheid, the India that was synonymous with integrity & ethics, has become the India whose cricket board relentlessly bullies SA because it's CEO, a man who stood up in opposition to and challenged apartheid - dared disagree with, and stand up to, one N. Srinivasan.

    Were it not for apartheid, Lorgat, a brilliant all-rounder, would have played international cricket. Unfortunately, international cricket, led by India's Srinivasan, now plays him.

  • ladycricfan on October 21, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    1) Who is a better owner of an IPL team, india cements with experience in managing cricket teams or priety zinta with no experience in cricket?

    2) Who will make a better cricket administrator, Srinivasan (a businessman with experience in managing cricket who also played cricket) or Pawar (a politician with no history of managing cricket teams and who never played cricket).

    I think instead of all the accusations of conflict of interest, more people like Srinivasan should be involved in BCCI administration. More companies like India cements should own IPL teams. Plenty of business houses participate in BCCI corporate trophy. They should be encouraged to buy IPL teams.

  • Gevelsis on October 18, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    "I don't hold grudges"!!! What a laugh. What a slippery customer, butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. If it was a Monday and this man told me it was a Monday, I would check the calendar.

  • ladycricfan on October 18, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    Srinivasan was elected as president unanimously. All the south zone associations were unanimous. all 29 members were unanimous in the AGM.Even Manohar's outburst shows he couldn't get enough support to contest against Srinivasan.Don't you think people in the BCCI know Srinivasan better than those outside?

  • vivekk83 on October 17, 2013, 20:26 GMT

    I wasn't surprised when he was re-elected. He has reached this position after carefully plotting everymove for the last 15-20 years. Check the article on Sharada Ugra on his rise to the top post. As wil comments from folks on being dishonest.. If we committed an act that is not right, 99.99% of the times, we aren't gonna hold up our hand and say i did it or there could be people like Peter who brought a sad end to himself.He has been part of the set-up and will not go away after the prez.term considering India cements legacy.You need to play your political cards right,else could be banished like Dalmia/Muthiah,which he wouldn't want considering his roots for the game.He may not be a morally self righteous individual ( which we want everyone else to be) but understands the game better than most administrators.Importantly,he has been a generous boss to all the team members (players) with the benefits doled out.Smart business man with Passion & "interest" has done more good to Indian cric

  • Harmony111 on October 17, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    A second reading of this interview with a bit more focus made me realize that Srini is quite a champion with words. He knows exactly what to say and how. If brevity is indeed the soul of wit then Srini comes across as quite an erudite here. The way he handled some of the questions shows he would have made a great diplomat. Leaving the ball well is also an integral part of high quality batting, isn't it?

    Srini's views on DRS came out very well here. I would really like to see what the RoW says for this point. He is quite right in saying that BCCI does not want to use a faulty system and he is not stopping from others if they want to play the game using a faulty system, there is absolutely nothing wrong in this stance. I will not drive wearing a helmet with an paque vizor and if you want to drive wearing that and then meet with an accident then don't complain.

    Srini sounded rather humble when he said he was not that big to talk about legacies. He got some flaws but he is no villain.

  • Rohit42 on October 17, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    When i read the headlines of this article, i thought this was a Page 2 news

  • Lets_Bash_Indians on October 17, 2013, 15:47 GMT

    N Srinivasan & BCCI are complete Arrogant & armed with Financial powers that they can change FTPs of ICC. Well Thats Something I really proud of, Yes BCCI is Bully, ,,&,Come on its Better to Be A BULLY,rather than Get Bullied \m/ (#proud BCCI follower)

  • anton_ego on October 17, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    I am a huge critique of Srinivasan.. But one thing I believe in strongly is to give him time to come out clean (or whichever way the judgement goes), bcoz all accused need judicial space. I find it annoying to see him hounded by media everywhere he goes. Even Nixon wudnt have been hounded this much. It is doing no good. The media keeps hounding to come up with some headlines. And he just runs away without saying anything. If media is truly concerned about cricket, uncover some stories. Get some anonymous sources from BCCI and support your exposé with genuine proof. But this hounding does no good to anyone. This shows the cheap side of Indian media as well.

  • ThyrSaadam on October 17, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    Nice joke to start the day off

  • SpizenFire on October 17, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    Srini's position on DRS is clean and logical. And more importantly, he is not forcing others to his logic. What comes across is, all other cricket boards are forcing BCCI to accept their position and perhaps are eyeing BCCI's purse to finance their choice, and Mr. Srini, not wanting any part of it. And if this is what is termed as bullying, then, along with administrators of different boards, the cricket fans need a DRS lol ...

  • India-Do-Well on October 17, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    Reminds me 'Yes Minister'. N Srinivasan said nothing but said every thing. You cannot find a smoking gun to nail him but we all know the story. Classic - N Srinivasan could have been a great IAS officer as well. Ha ha... I can imagine Sambit Bal frustration during the interview.

  • India-Do-Well on October 17, 2013, 10:15 GMT

    @ Little_Aussie_Battler --- please please do. I beg you, please form your own ICC with ENG and others so we can play our IPL. Can you also please get CA to pay Channel 9 $250K for Hot Spot for the marquee series 'THE ASHES' so the game of test cricket benefits. Finally can you also do something about all the AUS players that come to play IPL.... Please

  • AdityaMookerjee on October 17, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    What seems really serious is that now some people might want a biography about the members of the B. C. C. I., the secretaries, board members, Presidents, treasurers, from the year 1946, like Christopher Martin Jenkin's great encyclopedia, 'Whose who of Test Cricketers' Queen Annie's Press. I have the original Australian Team's autographs in the book, 1987, the team that won the World Cup. Imagine if I had such a volume on the B. C. C. I., and I kept the current teams official autographed document there?

  • Little_Aussie_Battler on October 17, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    Typical. The traditional test match nations should form a new ICC that they control and India is invited to play against the members on occasion. A little isolation would teach them a little humility.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on October 17, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    It's really rich when espncricinfo questions Srinivasan on "censorship", when espncricinfo itself does not publish my comments ( 2 of them posted yesterday) that are supportive of Srinivasan's view points in this very article. This reminds me of the guy who professed the concept of tolerance, but was intolerant when people disagreed with him. Open mindedness is about being able to permit all points of view to be expressed, irrespective of how unpalatable it may be to the journalist seeking discussion / comments on a subject. Can espncricinfo bring itself to at least publish this post?

  • on October 17, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    You may find enough stuff wrong with this gentleman (to do with the way he runs BCCI and protecting his son in law ) but the fact is he is honest ,intelligent ,a true cricket supporter who cares for players ,has been successful in developing cricket in India and has improved the cricket infrastructure in India .

    I guess I would love to have a person like that to manage cricket ...which ever country it is ...but sure as hell a lot of guys hate him ....but give the devil its due he is a safer bet than the Kalamdies and Pawars ... I wonder why other boards are failing to do what BCCI is doing ....I agree to his argument that commentators should just comment on the game ..watch the major league games of any sport ...If Commentators are told to stick to the game and not bitch about selection /DRS/politics there is nothing wrong

  • DipsoManiac on October 17, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    Sambit,thanks for the interview.Finally,someone asking real questions from the man at center of it all!How did he even agree to give an interview to you? He hasn't read your articles?You and Miss Ugra are doing a fine job as journalists.Thanks!He did try to dodge most of the tough questions and didn't give any substantial answers except that you do get to know his general way of thinking.Thanks for being persistent.I am sure in coming years we will all look back at this time as a very dark phase in Indian Cricket administration and maybe find a way to chuckle a bit by remembering Srinivasan's quotes. 1) He is a cricket enthusiast. 2) BCCI in no way interferes with the freedom of the press. But a commentator should be a commentator, and a journalist should be a journalist. 3) I am not an autocrat. I don't want to get into debates. 4) vision for Indian cricket?:"last several years have been very good for Indian cricket. If you look at the positives,we won the WC nChampions Trophy" :)

  • on October 17, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    Srini's answers are delightfully comic here. He just brushes everything off and refuses to comment - I wonder why he agreed to the interview in the first place. The issue of commentary censorship comes up. Srini's response to 1st ques on issue - "This I will address because I think its important". His response to the last question on the issue - "I cannot comment on that". The issue of SA tour comes up. Response to 1st question on issue - "I'm glad you asked that question". Response to last question on issue - "I don't want to discuss it now". LOL !!! Great job Sambit. The guy clearly is just an autocrat...

  • CricketChat on October 16, 2013, 19:46 GMT

    If nothing else, Srinivasan is like a captain who doesn't know where his ship is headed or what his staff are up to.

  • bigdhonifan on October 16, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    As Farokh Engineer Said "Without a shadow of doubt. Mr Srinivasan may be criticised because maybe his son-in-law is involved in a betting scam but what he has done is put a pension scheme in place that ensures that India's cricketers are the envy of the world. If you are a Test cricketer, you get 35,000 rupees a month. No one, anywhere in the world has even thought of that. And whatever you say to Mr Srinivasan, I would salute him. He and present Board have done this for the cricketers. That is why you won't find a lot of cricketers saying anything against the Board." Srinivasan is the best thing happened to BCCI.

  • Neal_88 on October 16, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    This Srinivasan guy .... I like him...... he talks intelligently and gives accurate response to the tough questions which are correct in a way...... but this is the guy that should be in charge of not only bcci but also icc..... then only cricket will develop..... cricket now needs intelligent persons like him not some self righteous morally good talkers who can't act on time to save our beloved sport CRICKET.....

  • VK_31 on October 16, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    Good interview. Very candid responses from Mr. Srinivasan. The point about India Cements being interested in cricket at the grass root level is absolutely true and it is natural progression for them to bid for the Chennai team, especially when compared to the owners of most of the other teams who have jumped on this bandwagon only in the recent years, IC has been around supporting cricket for a few decades now.

  • bumble23 on October 16, 2013, 16:54 GMT

    This interview comes across as something made to create cheap publicity. Srinivisan cannot claim himself to be clean and honest. It should be the cricket followers who have to call him a honest person. Unfortunately his image has been tarnished very badly in the world for playing monopoly and bullying others around that he doesnt deserve to hold the BCCI president position. But since influence and money play a vital role in todays life one has to endure this.

  • on October 16, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    The fact that there are no questions about Gurunath's role (which is the central issue - everything else is fallout), makes this interview a wasted effort.

  • niazbhi on October 16, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    You and Akash Chopra are my favorite cricinfo writers. Once again you did a good job. When I read Srinivasan something does not sound right about him.

  • Nutcutlet on October 16, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    Wow! First of all, thank you Sambit for pinning Srinivasan down (metaphorically!) to give you an interview. Points that emerge from this none-too-easy exchange: (1) Srini has a very tough hide 'felt unfairly attacked/continous attack' yet, 'I won't call it tough.' (2) He is also indifferent to public opinion (and presumably therefore sees no point in engaging with it) (3) he shuffles off the gagging of commentators criticism to Star (yet it's the BCCI logo I see on TV broadcasts). This was a non-answer. Totally evasive. (4) 'I am not an autocrat. I don't want to get into debates"' That's an absolute classic! he could have said (with as much sense): I am a democrat. I don't want to get into discussions or elections.(4) He never forgives, because he never gets upset... I'm still working that one out. All in all, anyone who sees this as a breath of fresh air, making the unclear a little clearer, then I wonder if you've read and analysed the same interview as I have. Good try, Sambit!

  • anuradha_d on October 16, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    b.t.w...bal should have tried to plead a case for media accredition to Cricinfo...so it is recognized as a news agency and......and CI gets to sit in airconditioned media areas instead of buying tickets and standing in open sun :)

  • anuradha_d on October 16, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    I am not a fan of Srinivasan...but even in a print interview he comes across as clever...and legally correct.....emotional irritations and perceptions apart....logically and legally hard to pin down.

  • madras_boy on October 16, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    I agree with Srini that Media has Hyped the news to get more viewers & hits for their articles in Newspaper / Internet. DD is a neutral news channel and how many times the news was featured in it ? It is just the thirst of media to earn more when the sun shines !!! Happy that Supreme Court finally put the matter to rest and appointed a decent panel to investigate again. Lets wait for their report also to come.

    India Cements has been investing in Cricket for a very long time and they should be given due respect. Coming to Reliance which owns MI, they were also silent after the reliance world cup before popping out for an IPL team. India Cements is a credible owner and with cricket being very popular now, others are just jealous.

  • IndianEagle on October 16, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    "BCCI focuses on test cricket" as like on ODI and t20's. It's only ex-players, commetators, column writers are worrying about test cricket but fans doesnt bother and likes shorter formats. So what can BCCI do? It's upto fans and you cannot sold old product to younger generations. Even BCCI will fail in popularising test cricket.

  • ladycricfan on October 16, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    To balance inbound and outbound tours, infact it is SA who needs to play 6odis and 2 T20Is in india which is outstanding at the moment. That is because india played an extra tour to SA which was not in the FTP.

  • Chona on October 16, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    I have just a simple request...BCCI should honour ICC schedule as other teams are expected to. There should be a rule and that too for all teams that if a team does not honour a touring commitment for any reason other than Terrorism than the affected host nation must be awarded the series..(in current case IND is trying to scrap IND v SA to accommodate WI at home). Cricket is collective game and it is not realm of one money spinning board....the whole logic of "inbound" and "outbound" traffic means BCCI does not believe in ICC Schedule...that certainly means they think they are above everyone else..... I still hope that in future matinee series like SA v IND, IND v PAK, ENG v IND, AUS v IND are not scrapped by BCCI to suit themselves....if it continues then within five years we will see test cricket as completely broken and all that is left will be IPL, BIG BASH and other trivial leagues...we should keep Cricket as Cricket and not make it a club oriented money spinning Soccer clone....

  • Harmony111 on October 16, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    Srini faces a very tough situation at the moment. The perception is massively against him even though there is no actual case against him. His son-in-law's actions should not be seen as a wrong doing by Srini himself but the world does not work like that. Caesar's wife was supposed to be above suspicion. The power games in the most powerful cricket board in the world are beyond the grasp of us normal beings so we must give Srini some leeway in why he is reluctant in giving up the control. A linear view would tell us that Srni gave Gurunath more powers than he was able to handle & he misused them leaving Srini to face the music. But still, Srini should have been a better administrator. The inquiry panel should have been constituted properly & he should have given up his post voluntarily. This whole story has shown BCCI is very poor light to the world. Hoping this all gets cleared soon.

  • ladycricfan on October 16, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    He is right in not discussing matters which are sub judice. He might be acused of influencing if he did. In that sense shashank manohar's interview happened at the wrong time, just before the SC decision on srinivasan's presidency.

  • on October 16, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    An evasive interview all right. Surprising there is no question on Gurunath Meiyappan.

  • former-wisdener on October 16, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    Still flogging the dead horse that is 'Test' ('waste' cricket)? Here is a simple, humble message for editors, administrators, players still stuck in the mid-20th century, and continuing to tout a five-day format that is in reality a perversion of sport, social common sense, a criminal waste of time. When you show no respect for fans, the actual hands that feed you, when you ignore ground realities, someone needs to give you a compassionate, respectful nudge, and say: wake up. Which formats of the game fills cricket grounds, rewards the sponsors and pays your salary? Cricinfo was born as a voluntary effort of genuine cricket fans.

  • cnksnk on October 16, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    Good interview. SRINI came out as straight, atleast to questions he could answer. Still not clear on why the SA tour is un certain. Also did the BCCI not know that there was no planned tour of India this winter that led to this knee jerk our by WI. Some of what he states are facts viz 1) India Cements have been supporters of cricket for a very lng time. It helps that each of these teams have a vote which helps in getting elected to the TNCA , stepping stone for a larger role in BCCI. 2) The fact that India Cements was bidding for a team in the IPL was ratified by the BcCI nuch before Srini became President. Nothing was raised at that time by any one including Lalit Modi or Bindra. 3) Srini has not been accussed of any wrong doing. 4) irrespective of who appointed the earlier committee, it was manned by 2 retired High Court judges and they have given a clean chit. Unless one suspects their motivez , one may question the manner of appointment and not he contents of the report. trial by

  • Greatest_Game on October 16, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    A very frustrating interview. Not one question was clearly answered. Interestingly, although he claims he is not the owner of CSK because he owns so few company shares, he immediately refers to India Cements as "my own business." Ultimately however, the interview paints a very clear picture of a man who will not give a straightforward answer to any question, and who laughably casts himself as simply a dedicated cricket enthusiast.

  • TengaZool on October 16, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    It's quite clear that Mr Srinivasan is an astute businessman who understands his products well and has brought in enormous benefits for the development of cricket (obviously within India but somewhat across the globe as well.). The interesting part of this interview is that it showcases the business side of Srinivasan as well as the political side - especially when evading questions or answering in a roundabout fashion. He obviously doesn't work well with his peers when things are not on his terms and lacks flexibility. I agree with his stance on DRS but he does come across as a bully.

  • adamtwittey on October 16, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    An illuminating interview in some places, frustrating in others. There is a strong sense of his disregard of the ICC, suggesting that it should handle all global matters; even though he surely knows it can't in the current crickenomic (yes I made that up) climate. I understand the ongoing court matters prevent Mr Srinivasan talking about certain things, but the "commentary issues" briefly discussed should have been further prodded. Specifically, the apparent dismissals of people like Danny Morrison, the Sanjay "demotion" (maybe this happened after the interview?) and the complete lack of any discussion of the IPL spot-fixing issues that dominated the last chapter.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • adamtwittey on October 16, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    An illuminating interview in some places, frustrating in others. There is a strong sense of his disregard of the ICC, suggesting that it should handle all global matters; even though he surely knows it can't in the current crickenomic (yes I made that up) climate. I understand the ongoing court matters prevent Mr Srinivasan talking about certain things, but the "commentary issues" briefly discussed should have been further prodded. Specifically, the apparent dismissals of people like Danny Morrison, the Sanjay "demotion" (maybe this happened after the interview?) and the complete lack of any discussion of the IPL spot-fixing issues that dominated the last chapter.

  • TengaZool on October 16, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    It's quite clear that Mr Srinivasan is an astute businessman who understands his products well and has brought in enormous benefits for the development of cricket (obviously within India but somewhat across the globe as well.). The interesting part of this interview is that it showcases the business side of Srinivasan as well as the political side - especially when evading questions or answering in a roundabout fashion. He obviously doesn't work well with his peers when things are not on his terms and lacks flexibility. I agree with his stance on DRS but he does come across as a bully.

  • Greatest_Game on October 16, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    A very frustrating interview. Not one question was clearly answered. Interestingly, although he claims he is not the owner of CSK because he owns so few company shares, he immediately refers to India Cements as "my own business." Ultimately however, the interview paints a very clear picture of a man who will not give a straightforward answer to any question, and who laughably casts himself as simply a dedicated cricket enthusiast.

  • cnksnk on October 16, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    Good interview. SRINI came out as straight, atleast to questions he could answer. Still not clear on why the SA tour is un certain. Also did the BCCI not know that there was no planned tour of India this winter that led to this knee jerk our by WI. Some of what he states are facts viz 1) India Cements have been supporters of cricket for a very lng time. It helps that each of these teams have a vote which helps in getting elected to the TNCA , stepping stone for a larger role in BCCI. 2) The fact that India Cements was bidding for a team in the IPL was ratified by the BcCI nuch before Srini became President. Nothing was raised at that time by any one including Lalit Modi or Bindra. 3) Srini has not been accussed of any wrong doing. 4) irrespective of who appointed the earlier committee, it was manned by 2 retired High Court judges and they have given a clean chit. Unless one suspects their motivez , one may question the manner of appointment and not he contents of the report. trial by

  • former-wisdener on October 16, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    Still flogging the dead horse that is 'Test' ('waste' cricket)? Here is a simple, humble message for editors, administrators, players still stuck in the mid-20th century, and continuing to tout a five-day format that is in reality a perversion of sport, social common sense, a criminal waste of time. When you show no respect for fans, the actual hands that feed you, when you ignore ground realities, someone needs to give you a compassionate, respectful nudge, and say: wake up. Which formats of the game fills cricket grounds, rewards the sponsors and pays your salary? Cricinfo was born as a voluntary effort of genuine cricket fans.

  • on October 16, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    An evasive interview all right. Surprising there is no question on Gurunath Meiyappan.

  • ladycricfan on October 16, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    He is right in not discussing matters which are sub judice. He might be acused of influencing if he did. In that sense shashank manohar's interview happened at the wrong time, just before the SC decision on srinivasan's presidency.

  • Harmony111 on October 16, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    Srini faces a very tough situation at the moment. The perception is massively against him even though there is no actual case against him. His son-in-law's actions should not be seen as a wrong doing by Srini himself but the world does not work like that. Caesar's wife was supposed to be above suspicion. The power games in the most powerful cricket board in the world are beyond the grasp of us normal beings so we must give Srini some leeway in why he is reluctant in giving up the control. A linear view would tell us that Srni gave Gurunath more powers than he was able to handle & he misused them leaving Srini to face the music. But still, Srini should have been a better administrator. The inquiry panel should have been constituted properly & he should have given up his post voluntarily. This whole story has shown BCCI is very poor light to the world. Hoping this all gets cleared soon.

  • Chona on October 16, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    I have just a simple request...BCCI should honour ICC schedule as other teams are expected to. There should be a rule and that too for all teams that if a team does not honour a touring commitment for any reason other than Terrorism than the affected host nation must be awarded the series..(in current case IND is trying to scrap IND v SA to accommodate WI at home). Cricket is collective game and it is not realm of one money spinning board....the whole logic of "inbound" and "outbound" traffic means BCCI does not believe in ICC Schedule...that certainly means they think they are above everyone else..... I still hope that in future matinee series like SA v IND, IND v PAK, ENG v IND, AUS v IND are not scrapped by BCCI to suit themselves....if it continues then within five years we will see test cricket as completely broken and all that is left will be IPL, BIG BASH and other trivial leagues...we should keep Cricket as Cricket and not make it a club oriented money spinning Soccer clone....

  • ladycricfan on October 16, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    To balance inbound and outbound tours, infact it is SA who needs to play 6odis and 2 T20Is in india which is outstanding at the moment. That is because india played an extra tour to SA which was not in the FTP.