Chandigarh: Shashank Manohar has, on the eve of possibly a path-breaking emergent meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)’s working committee, called for steps to change the public’s “negative perception” about the high-profile body.
Because of his squeaky clean image, whatever Manohar says carries weight.
“The hon’ble Supreme Court has given an opportunity to change the negative perception, which has been growing for almost a year. This chance must not be missed,” Manohar, immediate past president of the BCCI, told The Telegraph on Saturday.
A lawyer by profession, Manohar was referring to the apex court’s observation, on Wednesday, that it wasn’t inclined to order a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation or by a special investigation team and would prefer the BCCI to do the needful on its own.
The Supreme Court made that observation driven by the principle of not compromising the “institutional autonomy” of the BCCI, which has to respond by Tuesday.
One understands the probe will, at this stage, cover the 13 names in the sealed envelope given to the apex court by the Justice Mukul Mudgal panel, a little over two months ago.
Narayanswamy Srinivasan, effectively suspended as the BCCI president, by the Supreme Court, is the 13th name on that list.
So, a president is set to be investigated while still in office (technically, Srinivasan’s tenure ends in September) and nobody knows where this would lead to.
According to Manohar, who talks straight, the BCCI should look to appoint a three-member panel with “unimpeachable integrity.”
“Today, it’s not only an issue of putting in place a panel to probe whatever is necessary. Rather, most important is to change the public’s negative perception about the BCCI...
“That can only be done by appointing a panel comprising three gentlemen who’re independent, enjoy a high reputation and have unimpeachable integrity...
“My view is that the BCCI must not appoint anybody from within the organisation, or else a wrong impression will gather steam. All the members of the panel have to be from outside...
“If that’s not done, then the BCCI won’t be on the path of restoring its image. There’s no option, really,” Manohar said, from Nagpur.
Manohar didn’t spell it out, but he wouldn’t like a repeat of last summer’s investigation by Justices (retd) T. Jayaram Chouta and R. Balasubramanian.
In the eyes of the world, it was a sham.
Both Chouta and Balasubramanian were either personally chosen by Srinivasan or, at least, he approved their names.
For the record, Manohar remained non-committal on whether he’d come out of retirement and attend the emergent meeting as a nominee of the Vidarbha Cricket Association.
“My stand is the same... I have received requests (as reported in these columns), but haven’t made up my mind.”
Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, another former president, have to take the lead in pushing for a restore-the-BCCI’s-image agenda.
The big question: Where would Srinivasan fit into that?
Despite the strong observations and an interim order from the apex court, Srinivasan hasn’t resigned as the BCCI president.
The mood at the emergent meeting may convince the obstinate Srinivasan that his game indeed is up.
“In a crisis, the sentiment of the house means a lot... It’s to be seen how many come out and defend Srinivasan,” somebody associated with the BCCI pointed out.
One learns that for the first time after Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested, last May, the men from Chennai are worried with a capital W.
There are good reasons for that.