N. Srinivasan has a reputation for being ruthless. Popularly known as “NS,” he is known to be a “good friend” and a “bad enemy.” Some consider him decisive; others see him as a divisive figure.
These are probing days for the 68-year-old president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Apart from the spot-fixing scandal that is rocking Indian cricket, Mr. Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, the team principal of Chennai Super Kings, faces allegations of placing bets through actor Vindoo Singh, who is now in Mumbai Police custody.
Mr. Srinivasan, also managing director of India Cements, was a keen sportsperson in his younger days. He played tennis at the university level and followed cricket with interest.
Mr. Srinivasan displayed a taste for sports administration too. Never lacking in ambition, he gradually climbed the rungs in cricket. He also held key posts in chess and golf.
With India Cements owning several clubs in the various divisions of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) league in Chennai, he had a strong presence in the TNCA.
Yet, it was not until 2002 that he made his breakthrough in the BCCI. With A.C. Muthiah, who had completed a maximum of eight years as TNCA president, supporting him, Mr. Srinivasan was elected to the top TNCA job.
Mr. Muthiah narrowly lost the president’s post to Jagmohan Dalmiya in the dramatic 2001 Board elections in Chennai and Mr. Srinivasan found himself representing the State at BCCI meetings. His relationship with Dalmiya was frosty and it was not long before Mr. Srinivasan became a part of the opposition.
Sharad Pawar became BCCI president in 2005 and Mr. Srinivasan was elected treasurer. “NS” quickly acted on Mr. Dalmiya and the latter was expelled from the Board in 2006 for “mismanagement of funds.”
It was during this phase that Mr. Srinivasan and Mr. Muthiah fell out, apparently over a television rights issue. Already well entrenched in districts, Mr. Srinivasan consolidated his hold on the TNCA by winning over city clubs. Mr. Muthiah was not pleased and the rivalry turned bitter; he regularly moved the courts on, what he felt, were contentious issues.
With the passage of time, Mr. Srinivasan became increasingly influential in the Board. For Mr. Pawar, he was a trusted ally who did not sit on decisions. Mr. Srinivasan also developed enemies who found his methods “autocratic.”
With Mr. Pawar moving to the International Cricket Council (ICC), Nagpur strongman Shahshank Manohar took over the reins of the BCCI in 2008. And Mr. Srinivasan was elevated as Board secretary.
With Mr. Manohar content to stay in the background, Mr. Srinivasan became the face of the BCCI. There were also indications that both did not take kindly to reported interference in the affairs of the Board by Mr. Pawar.
Mr. Srinivasan’s ascent continued and he was made BCCI chief in 2011. It’s been a mixed ride for him with the IPL spot-fixing scandal posing the biggest challenge of his career as a cricket administrator.
He also has to deal with a conflict of interest case, filed by Mr. Muthiah, over his role in the BCCI and his connection with the Chennai Super Kings franchise in the IPL. It is currently before the Supreme Court.