According to a senior functionary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), till as late as the eve of the IPL-VI final at Eden Gardens on May 26, president N. Srinivasan had a lot of goodwill among his colleagues, including former BCCI and ICC chief Jagmohan Dalmiya.
It emerged from an informal dinner meeting that the frosty relationship between the two senior administrators had begun to thaw after the BCCI, in its 2010 AGM, ended a four-and-a-half-year legal battle pertaining to the 1996 World Cup and reversed the decision to recover Rs. 46.64 crore from Dalmiya.
Veteran administrators also pointed out that Dalmiya would always support anyone who stood up to Sharad Pawar and that Srinivasan toughened his ‘I will not resign’ stand only after the National Congress Party demanded he step down. The NCP withdrew the statement, but Srinivasan, according to sources, believed that the NCP spokesman had issued the statement with Pawar’s consent.
Many BCCI regulars could not fathom the remarkable change in the relationship between Dalmiya and a few members of the Pawar-led group; only eight years ago, the same bigwigs, including Lalit Modi, were at daggers drawn with Dalmiya. They successfully challenged his authority and placed Pawar as president after winning the 2005 elections in Kolkata.
People familiar with recent developments divulged that senior administrators such as Arun Jaitley, Rajeev Shukla and Ajay Shirke explained to Srinivasan the exigency to voluntarily leave the scene until the investigations were completed.
‘Done no wrong’
“They appreciate the work done by Srinivasan, but could not force his hand in the larger interest of Indian cricket and BCCI,” said a source. “Their reasoning cut no ice with him. He has steadfastly maintained that he has done no wrong and he’s clean.”
But with people who supported him a week ago turning against him and others going public about the importance of personal integrity, Srinivasan’s world is crumbling. A run of eight years, during which, according to the source, Srinivasan was responsible for streamlining the Board’s foundation (administration, finances, especially tax-related issues), is under threat.