The Shashank redemption?

After Manohar’s outburst against N Srinivasan,other dissenting voices emerge within board.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Kolkata | Published:October 4, 2013 4:16 am

Former BCCI chief Shashank Manohar voiced his opposition to board president N Srinivasan and though he is not the first cricket administrator to have criticised the Tamil Nadu strongman,it appears that voices of dissent within the organisation are growing.

Speaking to Mumbai Mirror,Manohar said Srinivasan should have stepped down right after spot-fixing allegations cropped up against his son-in-law and CSK team principal Gurunath Meiyappan,considering the conflict of interest. “If you had the slightest of conscience,self-esteem and care for the board,you ought to have put in your papers the moment your son-in-law was arrested. You did nothing and as a result the board’s reputation has taken a hit,” Manohar was quoted as saying. “This board has been built over the years by very many people but its reputation has been damaged by this man (Srinivasan) in a span of four months.”

After Manohar’s outburst,others within the board,who had previously remained silent due to the lack of a credible alternative to Srinivasan,have begun to voice their dissent.

Goa Cricket Association (GCA) vice-president Shekhar Salkar has called for re-election (for the post of BCCI president) under a ‘neutral observer’. “Hope Srinivasan will be debarred from taking over as president and a clean election will be held under a neutral observer. I wish the Supreme Court takes a decision to bar those who are chargesheeted from working as office bearers in any sports organisation,” he told The Indian Express. The GCA was one of the six state associations from South Zone that helped Srinivasan get a year’s extension as BCCI president.

“We supported him because he was the only one who contested. The opposition group didn’t have a central figure to lead the charge,but now both Sharad Pawar and Manohar appear to be taking interest,” Salkar explained.

There are enough indications that Pawar might contest the Mumbai Cricket Association’s (MCA) presidential election on October 18. If he takes charge of the MCA he directly nominates himself to the BCCI working committee. “Do you think Srinivasan will continue to enjoy the same authority if Pawar gets into the working committee?” Salkar said.

But Srinivasan is unlikely to allow Pawar a smooth road back and has already made plans to open a separate front in Mumbai,reportedly to keep the MCA under pressure. The Cricket Club of India (CCI),of which Srinivasan is an honorary life member,is the custodian of the Brabourne Stadium,which has once again become a full-fledged international centre. A decision in this regard was unanimously taken at the board’s AGM. Srinivasan is in favour of historic venue hosting Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th Test,when India play the West Indies next month. It has irked the MCA,which is now ready to take on the BCCI president on the issue. “The CCI can’t have a claim. If Sachin plays his 200th Test in Mumbai,it will only be at the Wankhede,” said MCA president Ravi Savant,who is also a BCCI vice-president. CCI president Sevanti Parekh,however,said that the Brabourne was where Tendulkar played a lot of his early cricket and that it was the CCI’s turn to host matches. “MCA no longer hold an exclusive right to host Test matches in Mumbai. And if one calls for rotation,then I must say the CCI hasn’t played host to a Test match for a long time,” he said. “Sachin spent his formative years here. We changed our constitution to allow him into our members’ arena when he was a minor.” It is learned that the tussle between the MCA and the CCI is one of the reasons the BCCI deferred its Tours and Fixtures Committee meeting by a week.

Voices of dissent

Elsewhere too,dissenting voices have been raised. Srinivasan’s snubbing of former ICC and BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya hasn’t gone down well with the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). The veteran administrator stood by the incumbent in crisis and worked as the BCCI’s interim head. But when he lobbied hard for the IPL chairman’s post,he was told to continue as the North-East Development Committee chairman. Orissa Cricket Association president Ranjib Biswal,instead,became the new IPL chairman. “We have to seriously rethink our stand after this,” CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey said. Pawar and Dalmiya have had their run-ins in the past,with the acrimony between the two dating back to 2004,when Ranbir Singh Mahendra defeated Pawar for the post of BCCI president with Dalmiya casting the decisive vote. Pawar exacted his revenge a year later,and ousted Dalmiya from the board. “There’s nothing permanent in sports and politics. Equations can change anytime,” said Dey,when asked if Dalmiya could ever take Pawar’s side.

Anti-incumbency

Manohar had also claimed in the interview that several BCCI members,including Dalmiya,had requested him to contest against Srinivasan. When contacted,however,Dalmiya refused to comment. The key figures from the opposition camp are likely to meet in Rajkot on October 10 at Niranjan Shah’s invitation. Before that,on Monday,the apex court will once again hear the petition filed by Cricket Association of Bihar secretary Aditya Verma against Srinivasan. The Supreme Court has already stopped Srinivasan from performing his duties as BCCI president till the case is over. He has also been barred from taking part in any IPL activities.

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