Shashank Manohar, who has previously served as the BCCI president, is normally a reserved man when it comes to expressing his opinions. His tenure was also characterized by a calmness rarely seen with Indian cricket administrators. He was a lawyer, did not speak much with the media regarding any issue and always worked behind the scenes. His mantra was simple – to make sure that the task in hand is completed. In fact he was also known as Mr. Clean because of the way he operated. However, recently he has in a spot of bother by going up against one time friend N Srinivasan for the post of BCCI President and it seems that this development may have affected his composure as the normally calm Manohar has, in an uncharacteristic way, stated that N Srinivasan is a dictator who wants all the power for himself.
N Srinivasan has recently been chosen for a third term as the president of the wealthiest cricket body in the world. In a curious turn in BCCI boardroom politics Jagmohan Dalmiya, who had filled in for Srinivasan during his temporary removal from the board and was also being touted as a major supporter of the Srinivasan faction, had asked Manohar to contest the election against his one-time cohort.
However, as has been the remarkable capability, if you can term it like that, of Srinivasan, the Tamil Nadu businessman was able to exploit a loophole in the laws and get himself chosen for yet another term at office. In an interview to a prominent Mumbai based newspaper Manohar vented his ire at the way things had unfolded stating that the CSK boss had no right, whatsoever, to be the BCCI supremo. He said that if Srinivasan had even the least amount of self esteem and sense of justice he would have resigned the moment Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested. This is a view that I corroborate as well.
He also said that the fact that Srinivasan did nothing at that point of time meant the position of BCCI president was seriously affected in terms of reputation and now the situation has come to such a head that people have lost all faith in the board. His views have been supported, in a way, by the Supreme Court, which recently felt that not all was well with the way the Indian board was being operated. Srinivasan has meanwhile been steadfast in his refusal of being drawn into anything that his son-in-law had done.
In fact his lawyer’s riposte at the Supreme Court that Gurunath was selected by his client’s daughter and not Srinivasan himself was as humorous as a kid in the kindergarten saying that he could not finish his homework owing to bowel problems. Srinivasan had stated that his son in law was just a cricket lover who had no say in the running of the team when CSK was embroiled in the fixing scam but that idea was conveniently cast aside when Mike Hussey stated pretty clearly in his recent book, “Underneath the Southern Cross” that Gurunath was involved in running the show after all.
Manohar has stated that Srinivasan has been able to destroy the reputation of the BCCI in a matter of months compared to previous administrators like Dalmiya, IS Bindra, AC Muttiah, Madhavrao Scindia and Sharad Pawar who toiled for years to build the image of the same. While the previous administrators, in my estimation, did not exactly cover the board in glory, they were not as autocratic as the Indian Cements supremo.
Thanks to Srinivasan’s despotic policies the BCCI has attracted a lot of negative press especially in countries like Australia, where Srinivasan has been run down in the media, and in South Africa, where the country is fuming, and rightly so, at the way the BCCI has kept them on the tenterhooks regarding the upcoming series.
However, I doubt if any of this affects our BCCI President, who sincerely believes he is an honest administrator and a good one at that! He does not seem to care what is being written about him or the board in the general. However, as an Indian and a fan of the game in general I sincerely wish that his reign comes to an end as soon as possible and he is barred forever from the board – even if that means finding a new owner for the CSK franchise.
There are plenty of owners who will be interested like Anil Ambani, Subroto Roy and others. We may even have Rajnikant owning the franchise with other major South Indian businessmen and stars! Subroto Roy had in fact stated that Sahara’s problems with the BCCI would have been sorted out had it been Manohar at the helm. Already Airtel, too, has cancelled its sponsorship of the home series, which evidently shows the highhandedness of the present administration led by Srinivasan.
With Srinivasan not there we could have a scenario where Lalit Modi could come back to the BCCI. In spite of his misdemeanors everyone would have to accept the fact that he was the brains behind the IPL and the glitz and glamour we see here and before he gets jailed he can think of something that will make the tournament more interesting. The sponsors that are going away will also be back. I also think the senior cricketers used to some decent pensions need not worry because the BCCI will not end the program just because it was started by Srinivasan. So all in all, it would be a good thing in the end!