The Telegraph
Monday , April 21 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Srini’s hold remains strong

- Shashank Manohar left ‘absolutely disillusioned’

Chandigarh: The Supreme Court has effectively suspended Narayanswamy Srinivasan as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president, but his hold remains intact.

Sunday’s events in Mumbai, during an emergent meeting of the body’s working committee, served as a reminder.

No matter what the apex court says and the aam aadmi believes, the reality is that the Srinivasan Raj continues.

Fifteen affiliates are on the working committee and the Srinivasan camp emerged handsome winners on both occasions that a vote was taken, by a show of hands, after a division forced by former president Shashank Manohar.

Manohar, who came out of retirement and represented the Vidarbha Cricket Association, may never again try and do his bit to restore the BCCI’s image.

The divisions were forced when BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel proposed the names of former India captain Ravi Shastri and R.K.Raghavan, a former director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, for the probe panel to be placed before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

It’s for the apex court to either accept or reject the names.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, Manohar was the only one to oppose the appointment of Shastri, who has publicly been very sympathetic towards Srinivasan. So, the Srinivasan camp won that vote 14-1.

When it came to Raghavan (Tamil Nadu cadre of the IPS), the vote was 11-4. Besides Manohar, Jagmohan Dalmiya, Mohinder Pandove and K.P. Kajaria also opposed.

While Dalmiya represented the Cricket Association of Bengal, Pandove and Kajaria came from Punjab and the National Cricket Club, respectively.

The name of Jai Narayan Patel, a former chief justice of the Calcutta high court, which was proposed by Manohar, was accepted unanimously.

Karnataka’s Brijesh Patel, who’d flown across from the UAE to attend the emergent meeting, is understood to have proposed the name of Shivlal Yadav, the BCCI’s interim president (non-IPL matters).

But that wasn’t pushed beyond a point.

Like the BCCI secretary, Shivlal is from Srinivasan’s camp.

Apparently, the representative of one of the affiliates turned the exercise into a joke by seeking an endorsement of his panel: Kareena Kapoor-Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Preity Zinta!

Manohar wasn’t available for comment, but a confidant did speak to this Reporter. He said: “Manohar is absolutely disillusioned... Shastri’s being paid by the BCCI (commentary contract) and is on the IPL’s governing council. Will he be without bias?

“The BCCI’s image is in tatters and its institutional autonomy is threatened, yet one of the representatives proposed the names of three actors! Is that being serious?”

Manohar was banking on the support of Gujarat, Mumbai and Karnataka. They left him high and dry.

Dalmiya, another former president of the BCCI, could be as disillusioned, for he did talk about the need to restore the body’s image.

But Dalmiya will soon be 74 and, clearly, has limitations now. He’s not the tiger of old.

“I found Dalmiya’s speech rather confusing... Manohar was clear, but Dalmiya wasn’t so,” somebody present at the emergent meeting pointed out.

If accepted by the Supreme Court, the panel will investigate the 13 names given to the apex court by Justice Mukul Mudgal and his colleagues.

Srinivasan’s is the 13th name.

It’s significant that Srinivasan’s men conducted the emergent meeting according to their game plan. That included calling loyalists Assam, Jharkhand, Kerala and Odisha as “special invitees.”

It caused “confusion” and their representatives even raised their hands when one count was taken. It was left to Manohar to raise an objection, as special invitees don’t have a vote.

Credit to Srinivasan for managing to put his best foot forward, despite effectively being suspended as the BCCI president.

At the same time, Manohar (and Dalmiya, to a lesser extent) underestimated the wily Srinivasan.

Srinivasan’s the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association president, but he nominated somebody well versed in law to be its representative.

The emergent meeting, one gathers, began half-an-hour behind schedule, at 3.30 pm, as an effort had been made to settle "issues" amicably.