| Michael Hussey |
Calcutta: With everybody in (and associated with) the Chennai Super Kings appearing to take a vow of silence, there was no confirmation/clarity on two issues.
First, whether Narayanswamy Srinivasan had, indeed, spoken to Michael Hussey after excerpts from his autobiography — Underneath the Southern Cross — were made public on Tuesday.
According to a well-placed source of The Telegraph, Srinivasan, who is the vice-chairman and managing director of India Cements besides being the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, did make a call.
Details weren’t available till late on Thursday, but Srinivasan couldn’t have complimented Hussey for the bit about his having given “control of the team (Super Kings)” to son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan.
Hussey wrote the truth, but it exposed Srinivasan, who’d gone on record, on May 26, to declare that Meiyappan was no more than an “enthusiast.”
Meiyappan was then behind bars. He’s out on bail, but has been charged with betting, cheating and criminal conspiracy.
All very damning.
Till the Mumbai police arrested Meiyappan on May 24, he’d been happy to move around as the ‘Team Principal’ and enjoy the privileges which accompanied it, like sitting in the dug out.
For the record, India Cements (which owns the Super Kings) had been quick to deny that Meiyappan held that designation. Nobody was convinced, but the company described him as an “honorary member of the management team.”
The IPL, which accredited Meiyappan as ‘Team Principal’, kept quiet. That didn’t come as a surprise as the IPL is part of the Board, which is headed by Srinivasan.
Technically, today, Srinivasan is the non-functional president and will remain so till the Supreme Court has disposed of the SLP filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar.
Now, to the second issue...
Thanks to the silence, there was no clarity on when Hussey submitted the manuscript and whether there was no way for him to have amended the bit about Meiyappan running the show at Super Kings.
The Meiyappan scandal broke while IPL VI was on and Hussey couldn’t have missed the implications of what he’d written.
Equally, Hussey may have felt no reason to change even a word, as he’d only stated the factual position.
One isn’t in any way suggesting that Hussey did anything deliberately. He’s been the non-controversial type, focused exclusively on his game.
Somebody associated with the IPL from its inception, had this to say on Thursday: “Hussey is a man of integrity and not the sort to compromise in order to please somebody... It’s possible he didn’t wish to dilute the truth about Meiyappan.”
‘Mr Cricket’ is, clearly, also ‘Mr Straightforward’.
Despite the Mahendra Singh Dhonis, the Super Kings depend on Hussey in a big way. He failed against Trinidad & Tobago, on Wednesday night, and the franchise couldn’t play out 20 overs.
Perhaps, the excerpts-driven controversy got to the 38-year-old. The franchise as well.
Across the board, player contracts are common in the IPL. Now, the Super Kings could push for an additional clause — that any reference to the franchise/franchisee has to be okayed before an autobiography or biography goes to print.
But shouldn’t there be freedom of expression — on and off the field?