Gavaskar open to interim BCCI chief role

Sunil Gavaskar at the BCCI headquarters AFP

Sunil Gavaskar, the former India captain, has said that he is willing to take over the role of the interim BCCI president after the Supreme Court suggested his name as one of the eligible persons to replace N Srinivasan. Gavaskar, who is contracted with the BCCI as a television commentator, said that he was ready to give up that job and take over as BCCI president, an honorary position. At the same time, Gavaskar made it clear that he disagreed with the suggestion of former board president Shashank Manohar, that the IPL be suspended this season.

"When the highest court in the land tells you to do something, then you have no choice in the matter," Gavaskar told NDTV, an Indian news channel. "But it has to also to be put on record that I am contracted to BCCI TV to do television commentary. If after that the honourable Supreme Court tells me to do that, then quite clearly you have little choice left."

Asked whether he was willing to forsake his commentary assignments, Gavaskar said he would be "happy" to do it. "If the Supreme Court asks me to do something I will do it. There is no question about it. I will be very happy to do it. I will just consider [it] a huge privilege and a huge honour, the Supreme Court feels I'm good enough to handle that interim job," Gavaskar said.

Despite Gavaskar being open to the position, a senior BCCI official was not confident that the former India captain had thought the issue through. "Sunil Gavaskar is a person who gets Rs 2.5 crore (US$415,000 approx.) from doing commentary. So he is a paid employee of the BCCI. As a BCCI president he will get zero. It is up to him to decide to give up Rs 2.5 crore and then come and sit as a BCCI administrator. It is a huge amount of money. I would not have done that," the BCCI official said.

According to the official, under its constitution, the BCCI could not appoint Gavaskar - an outsider - as its president. "The court wants the BCCI to make the appointment, but the board cannot make someone an interim president going beyond the terms of its own constitution. That will be violating its own rules. The only way to get Gavaskar a president is for the Supreme Court to pass an order," the official said. "The court can't make a proposal and expect the BCCI to go beyond its constitution. That will be setting a wrong precedent."

According to this official, under the board's constitution, the only eligible candidate is Shivlal Yadav, the BCCi's senior-most vice-president. The official pointed out D Subba Rao, the secretary of the Andhra Cricket Association, who is considered one of the frontrunners for the post, is not eligible considering he is not a vice-president.