The Telegraph
Friday , March 28 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Sunny sceptics pore over technicalities

- Stunned board looks at its constitution

Calcutta, March 27: Lesson No. 1 for the arrogant Narayanswamy Srinivasan and a subservient Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI): Don’t try and outsmart the Supreme Court.

Lesson No. 2: You may belong to an exclusive club, but there’s a world outside and your actions (or the lack of action) get noticed.

Lesson No. 3: It doesn’t pay to shun transparency and to cover up. Not in the long run, at least.

Lesson No. 4: Allowing one individual to monopolise all powers can have severe consequences.

Lesson No. 5: Cricketers with a standing must be encouraged to be part of the administration.

A formal order, limited to two issues, will be issued tomorrow, but Justices Ananga Kumar Patnaik and Ibrahim Kalifulla have shaken up the BCCI like never before.

As the BCCI is the biggest player in the boardrooms globally, the fallout can’t be limited to within the country.

So sweeping have been the “proposals” put forward by Justices Patnaik and Kalifulla, triggered by the stubborn attitude of Srinivasan and the BCCI, that they take one’s breath away.

One has consciously mentioned Srinivasan first and, then, the BCCI as he’s made the institution irrelevant. Only the men from Chennai (including Team India support staff) matter.

Even Jagmohan Dalmiya, when he was at his most powerful, from the late 1990s to the early 2000s, didn’t keep everything clenched in his right fist.

Last June, Srinivasan got away with the nonsensical stepping aside bit, internally, thanks to being absolutely supreme in the BCCI, but the apex court saw through the offer.

Srinivasan has to go, in disgrace, having ignored the advice given by Justices Patnaik and Kalifulla on Tuesday.

It’s to be seen how the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals players are protected, but as worried as Srinivasan would be India coach Duncan Fletcher.

If iconic former captain Sunil Gavaskar does become the interim president, then he may take forward his thoughts on Fletcher — that the England “reject” be removed forthwith.

Gavaskar went after Fletcher earlier this month, when India failed to make the Asia Cup final, in Bangladesh. That made it a hat-trick of failures overseas this season alone.

Now, of course, India are on the verge of making it to the World T20 semi-final.

The BCCI has time till tomorrow to get back to the Supreme Court on whether there will be a conflict of interest if its choice, Gavaskar, is made the interim president.

A reminder: the BCCI’s constitution has no provision for an interim president.

However, this is an extraordinary moment in its life.

Also, going by the constitution, the president should have been an office-bearer and attended two AGMs.

Gavaskar doesn’t qualify and the BCCI’s legal team is expected to highlight this.

“Are we about to see the end of the BCCI’s constitution?” asked a well-placed source of The Telegraph, stunned by the stand taken by Justices Patnaik and Kalifulla.

Owing to the technicalities, quite a few are seeing former BCCI chief Shashank Manohar as the “dark horse” if Gavaskar isn’t the interim president. Shivlal Yadav meets the requirements as well.

Gavaskar regularly writes columns and is among the more popular commentators on TV — he spent the day in Visakhapatnam, commentating on the Deodhar Trophy final.

Then, Gavaskar is a partner in a company which manages players, Virender Sehwag and Varun Aaron, for example. The company does events for the BCCI, too.

But problem No. 1 is that Srinivasan wouldn’t be comfortable with Gavaskar in the very chair he’d himself been looking to occupy for some years more, even though his three-year term ends in September.

Gavaskar’s stature cannot be questioned, but the BCCI could also make an issue of his having briefly been informally “associated” with the Kochi Tuskers Kerala, an IPL franchise which got thrown out after one season (2011).

With the apex court wanting the Super Kings and the Royals to be kept away from the IPL till an investigation has been done, there’s a good chance that IPL VII would have to be scrapped.

Far too many things have to be sorted out and the April 16 start isn’t very many weeks away.

This stage wouldn’t have been reached had the BCCI engaged an independent body, last summer, to conduct the probe done by two handpicked retired judges.

Having invited trouble in this era of increased scrutiny, the BCCI has to face the consequences.

Come what may, and whoever the interim president, it has to restore credibility.

 More stories in Front Page

  • Sunny sceptics pore over technicalities
  • Deafening silence on questions on Dhoni