Who is Sundar Raman?
Raman is the most powerful, and feared, official in world cricket after ICC chairman N Srinivasan. His official designation is chief operating officer of the IPL; his remit goes far beyond that.
What is his background?
Raman, 43, entered the corporate world as a media planner. An avid cricket enthusiast, Raman in 2004 took part in an India-based reality show on sports network ESPN that was talent-hunting the next commentator to follow in the footsteps of Harsha Bhogle. Raman failed to make the cut.
But in professional life, Raman had gained prominence while climbing the ladder swiftly to become the managing director at MindShare India, a global media buying agency. Lalit Modi, the first IPL chairman, swiftly inducted Raman into the IPL operations team during his reign. Even when Modi was banned by the BCCI, Raman did not lose his foothold. If anything, he had strengthened his position, gaining Srinivasan's trust and steadily becoming the most influential non-administrator within the BCCI.
What is his current BCCI role?
Officially at BCCI, Raman holds only one position: COO of the IPL. As de facto boss of the most lucrative cricket tournament in the game, franchises report and communicate with Raman, who keeps an eagle eye on the minutiae. But in the last three years Raman has started having a bigger say even in BCCI matters. Every paper has to get his approval. Every new recruit needs to have his nod. Every sacking has his blessing. Even the official broadcaster has to obey Raman's diktats while appointing commentators for bilateral series since BCCI.tv owns the production rights.
Does he have a role at ICC?
If he cracks the whip within the BCCI, Raman transforms himself into the role of negotiator at the world cricket table. Officially, Raman is the BCCI's representative on the ICC's Integrity Working Party, which is chaired by ICC CEO David Richardson. But Raman is Srinivasan's shadow, his ear-piece at all ICC meetings.
In 2013 Srinivasan got Raman inducted into the ICC's commercial working group and the domestic Twenty20 sub-committee. Raman was the one of the chief architects of the radical position paper introduced last year by the Big Three (BCCI, Cricket Australia and ECB), that overhauled the structure of the ICC.
Importantly, Raman believed India had the right to earn the major share from the sale of ICC's commercial rights for the 2015-23 cycle. He worked out the calculations and threatened if there was any opposition, India would go solo. As always Raman's assertive ways were successful.