HomeSportCricketA chance for Srinivasan to show some real leadership

A chance for Srinivasan to show some real leadership

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MUMBAI — There is no shortage of raw emotion around the subject of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at the moment.

Business Day

N Srinivasan, the billionaire BCCI president who also controls the IPL and owns its most successful franchise, the Chennai Superkings, inspires strong feelings in a lot of people.

Many fawn and cower in his presence, acquiescent in the hope of finding favour. There is much to be gained from being in the good books of one of India’s richest men, and a price to be paid for getting on the wrong side of him.

His son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan, was installed as the team principal of the Chennai Superkings and was left in control of a kitty of millions of dollars at this year’s player auction, and spent every match in the dugout with MS Dhoni and his team.

Last week he was arrested by Mumbai police in connection with the spot-fixing scandal that blew up at the Rajasthan Royals and his relationship with known, illegal bookmakers. The Superkings issued a statement distancing themselves from Meiyappan, claiming he was not, in fact, their CE.

Asked what his son-in-law had been doing in the players’ dugout during matches, a dismissive Srinivasan said merely that “he was enthusiastic”.

His attitude turned to angry defiance when asked whether he would consider resigning: “I have done nothing wrong. I will not be bulldozed.”

One emotion notably missing in people who now see the evidence of Srinivasan’s dictatorial leadership style is sympathy. Whether it is his predecessor, Sharad Pawar, or the incorrigible IPL creator, Lalit Modi, who is fighting Srinivasan, the conflicts elicit, at best, an anaesthetised curiosity among onlookers.

But that’s because the casualties and victims aren’t in the spotlight. The “real” people whose livelihoods depend on strong, decent and reliable leadership are inevitably the ones who suffer. While Srinivasan plays his power games and pulls strings at the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the administrative boards of six of the other nine Test-playing nations, the innocent suffer.

Thousands of miles from Chennai, a squad of cricketers is training its collective backside off for a tour that may never happen. For 18 months, Zimbabwe Cricket has been hanging on to its very existence by a financial thread. They have tried to do the “right” thing as prescribed by the ICC — build a credible first-class domestic structure and pay for incoming tours by national A teams.

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