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BCCI has its way,Siva beats May in dodgy re-vote for ICC post

The Indian board seems to have succeeded in imposing itself on the rest of the cricketing world once again. Laxman Sivaramakrishnan was elected as the players’ representative on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) cricket committee Monday,after he defeated incumbent Tim May by a reported 6-4 margin in a controversial re-vote.

The Indian board seems to have succeeded in imposing itself on the rest of the cricketing world once again. Laxman Sivaramakrishnan was elected as the players’ representative on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) cricket committee Monday,after he defeated incumbent Tim May by a reported 6-4 margin in a controversial re-vote. May had won the first vote in a reported 9-1 landslide.

May is the chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA). India does not even have an official players’ body,and the BCCI does not recognise FICA.

Players’ bodies around the world expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome of the election,which allegedly did not stick to the established procedure.

“No doubt that this is a controversial election. The evidence shows that a number of captains were asked by their respective boards to change their votes. Nobody can pretend that these votes belong entirely to the captains and haven’t been imposed by those in power. It is clearly a result of the pressure put on these boards,” Angus Porter,chief executive of the Professional Cricketers’ Association in England,said.

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The BCCI has been accused of arm-twisting other boards to vote in favour of Sivaramakrishnan,its nominee.

“In the first instance,it went in favour of Tim May. But suddenly,we faced a situation where Tim May was said to be ‘unacceptable’ by some boards and a re-voting was ordered,” Tony Irish,chief executive of the South African players’ association,said last week.

Porter questioned Siva’s qualifications for the job of the players’ representative. “I don’t think he has strong relations with very many of the players outside of India or that he is even well known outside his own country. He replaces Tim May,who with his diligent work had earned the confidence of players around the world. We are puzzled about how Siva will represent the players in the committee and ensure that their decisions reflect the views of the cricketers,” he said.

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“The broader issue to be debated is that while Siva is now the players’ representative,the BCCI has never believed that player representation is a good thing.

Indian cricket is the single largest sporting entity without an official players’ association,” Porter said.

FICA is associated with players’ bodies in seven of the 10 Test-playing nations,the other three being India,Pakistan and Zimbabwe. Four of the seven are believed to have voted for May the second time around.

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When contacted by The Indian Express,Sivaramakrishnan said he was “perfectly qualified to represent the players”.

“I have been a broadcaster for 13 years and have travelled the world over and built relationships with most of the players from all Test playing nations,” he said. “I am good with networking and I am confident of performing a very good job.”

Siva is a contracted commentator with the BCCI,and an employee of India Cements,whose managing director is BCCI president N Srinivasan. But Siva insisted there is no conflict of interest.

“I have been an employee of India Cements for 15 years now. It is not that I became a part of their company now. I joined the company all those years back to play for them in club cricket and serve the company. I don’t see any conflict of interest since I am a representative of India and have been elected by all the captains around the world for the development of the game,” he said. “All the controversies being reported are factually wrong and derogatory.”

The ICC’s cricket committee is entrusted with taking decisions on on-field issues. It is headed by fellow Indian legspinner Anil Kumble. Siva will serve for three years until 2015.

First published on: 07-05-2013 at 06:12 IST
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