January 03, 1945
With his carefully calculated rise through the BCCI, Narayanaswami Srinivasan had became one of the most influential cricket administrators by end of the first decade of the 2000s. In September 2011, Srinivasan, an industrialist from Chennai, took over as president of the BCCI, and now controls not just an business empire built around cement, but also the future and fortunes of the richest cricket board in the world. In June 2014, his powers in the cricketing world grew further as he was named the ICC's first chairman.
Apart from being part of the established, deep-rooted order that controls the sport in India through his position in the BCCI, Srinivasan is also the owner of the Chennai Super Kings franchise in the Indian Premier League, the new-age Twenty20 tournament that has changed the face of cricket, its calendar and its economy. His appointment as ICC chairman followed a tumultuous year for him, during which he was barred as BCCI president while the Supreme Court of India looked into allegations of corruption in the IPL, to which his son-in-law and Super Kings official Gurunath Meiyappan was tied.
A chemical engineer by training, Srinivasan entered cricket administration in his home state of Tamil Nadu in 2001, as an ally of the former BCCI president AC Muthiah. He took over the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association in 2002, and thus found his way inside the BCCI as the head of a major cricketing centre. Towards the middle of the decade, he joined ranks with the informal alliance led by Sharad Pawar which came together to cast Jagmohan Dalmiya out from the BCCI's power centre. Pawar needed two strikes to succeed and when he did in 2005, Srinivasan was made the BCCI treasurer, his first foot-hold into high office in the Indian board.
His efficiency as an administrator and his ability to be a step or two ahead of Indian cricket's political game has given Srinivasan the opportunity to take on the sport's highest office. On some occasions, the BCCI's presidency post can become merely titular but it is unlikely that Srinivasan will let that happen in his watch.
His rise to power has been controversial on many counts in Tamil Nadu, but its wider national impact was only understood when India Cements, the firm owned by his family, won the Chennai franchise when the city-based IPL bids were awarded in January 2008. Within seven months, the BCCI constitution was amended to change the clause that had stipulated that no administration or member should have any commercial activities of the board - coincidentally, the constitutions of some of the other major sporting bodies (the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, the All India Chess Federation) Srinivasan has headed have been amended to seemingly suit him as well. AC Muthiah, the former BCCI president, has taken Srinivasan to court on the issue in the hope of having his adversary choose between India Cements and Super Kings.
Srinivasan's interest in cricket has been fairly constant for his last three decades in corporate affairs and cricket administration. India Cements is both owner of Chennai Super Kings and essentially also a key player in Chennai's competitive club league. Three clubs in the Chennai first division and one in Hyderabad are supported by India Cements, and the company now sponsors the Moin-ud-Dowla Gold Cup.
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