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How Srinivasan lost his hold on the BCCI

Six months ago, N Srinivasan was a force in the BCCI. That has changed now as a result of legal trouble and the power struggles within the board

Arun Venugopal
N Srinivasan leaves after the BCCI's emergent working committee meeting, Chennai, February 8, 2015

N Srinivasan's loss of influence in the BCCI has left his ICC chairmanship vulnerable as well  •  PTI

Shashank Manohar's nomination as BCCI president - to be formalised at a special general meeting on Sunday - has left N Srinivasan, the current ICC chairman and former board president, an isolated figure. Manohar has of late been a vocal critic of Srinivasan and is likely to curb Srinivasan's influence within the BCCI.
The most striking evidence of Srinivasan's waning influence came on Saturday, when Manohar was nominated for the post by all six East Zone members, most of whom owed allegiance to Srinivasan in the past. One East Zone official sought to downplay the issue, saying he was on "nobody's side." He also said he was not averse to either proposing or seconding Manohar's name, because he was "one of the finest presidents of the board, a man of the highest integrity and most accessible."
An office bearer of a southern state association that had been a staunch supporter of Srinivasan in the past admitted members were wary of antagonising the new powers in the BCCI. "Everybody wants to be safe. I look at my association. Why should I look [out] for others? We want to go with the system."
BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, who won a close-fought election for his post against the Srinivasan camp last year, promised there would be no "vendetta" against anybody. "If you look at the last six months, there was no vindictive attitude towards any association," Thakur told ESPNcricinfo. "And I can promise that, on behalf of Shashank Manohar as well, that we don't have a vendetta against anyone. For us, the institution is more important than the individuals."
Srinivasan's strength in the BCCI has been on the decline since the IPL corruption scandal in May 2013. Despite being rapped by the Supreme Court and ultimately forced to step aside as BCCI president, he had remained defiant and sought to protect his turf. However, the return of Jagmohan Dalmiya as BCCI president - a consensus candidate of the two factions led by Srinivasan and former board president Sharad Pawar - and, especially, the election of Thakur considerably eroded his base.
Srinivasan's plans for an alliance with Pawar and a proposed meeting with Amit Shah, president of the Gujarat Cricket Association and India's ruling political party the BJP, which has significant influence in the BCCI, also fell through.
While it is understood Srinivasan wanted to lie low during the current BCCI dispensation, his concern was his role as ICC chairman. The BCCI, which had nominated him for the post in June 2014, can change its nominee if it wishes to. Srinivasan's term is scheduled to end in June 2016.
It is understood that Srinivasan is not as upbeat about his ICC prospects as he was a few days ago. "It won't be impacted by whoever takes over," a source from the Srinivasan camp had said then. As the SGM neared, though, it became increasingly clear that Srinivasan had exhausted his cards.
"Since he [Srinivasan] is not in the BCCI picture for two years, how does it bother him [who comes to power]?" the source asked. "He doesn't have any such anxiety, and has learnt to remain detached from all this. His world doesn't revolve around the BCCI alone. He has his cement business to look after as well. If one party wins, the other party has to get on with its work until the next election."
None of his supporters could identify what caused Srinivasan's fall, despite his group holding the most important positions at the BCCI election in March. "That's the biggest question mark," an office-bearer said. "That's what happens in board. Two members are enough … everything can change."
A BCCI official said Srinivasan's legal battles took a toll on his reputation. "Nothing new has gone wrong. If he had come out clean from the court matters things would have been different. Unfortunately, nothing much is coming out of that. Secondly, things keep on changing as time passes. They normally change, with new combinations and new requirements."
However, a former board official considered close to Srinivasan, said he couldn't be written off. "Jaggu [Jagmohan Dalmiya] was banned. Jaggu made a comeback as BCCI president. In cricket and politics, you can never write off a person. He might be lying low now. He is a strongman of cricket, and he knows how to play his cards."

Arun Venugopal is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo