The police investigation into spot-fixing and betting charges has evoked much curiosity about B. Gurunath Meiyappan, team principal of Chennai Super Kings.
The mild-mannered Mr. Gurunath, well known in the city’s social circles, is a man of few words and has managed to keep a low profile, save for the two-month frenzy during the Indian Premier League tournament every year. And though he is more easily identified as the son-in-law of BCCI chief N. Srinivasan, his parentage is illustrious too. Mr. Gurunath hails from the AVM family, owners of the oldest and most popular film studio in South India.
He did not take up much to the film production business like his father M. Balasubramaniam or grandfather A.V. Meiyappa Chettiyar and seems to have enjoyed his role as chief of the CSK team the most.
Those who know the 38-year-old for some years now identify him as a “complete family man” who doted on his three children — two daughters and a son. One of the regulars at the Guindy golf course, where Mr.Gurunath is known to have spent long hours, said it was impossible to imagine him doing anything illegal. “It is hard to believe what is being spoken. I know him for 20 years and his wife Rupa well too,” said a golf course regular, who did not want to be identified. “It is shocking that he would do anything like the media is speculating. He is a sportsperson to the core.”
Archives of The Hindu Sportstar magazine have a few mentions as Mr.Gurunath as a bright golf prospect in the mid-1990s. He won the Sportstar Open golf tournament in 1996 and did not have to look beyond his home for inspiration — his mother Lalitha Balasubramaniam was one of the first golfers from the South Indian links to gain national honours.
His pursuit of sports management came only over the past decade, after his marriage to Rupa Srinivisan in the year 2001. It was a wedding which, prominent chronicler S. Muthiah wrote, “united not only two golfing families but also two of city’s well-known business families.”
A low-profile person seemingly by choice, regulars at IPL’s VIP boxes at the Chepauk stadium describe Mr. Gurunath as one who hardly showed any reaction even while staying by the side of the CSK team. A stadium watcher said: “The only player he seemed to talk to at some length was M.S. Dhoni. With others, he hardly shared a word or two.”
Mr. Gurunath is active on Twitter too, and communicated with CSK fans regularly.