Five years after he was unceremoniously dumped by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), N. Srinivasan could return as International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second independent chairman. But the path is still full of twists and turns. (More Cricket News)
If everything goes right, Srinivasan, who once dominated the cricket world till the Supreme Court knocked him out of the BCCI in 2014 in the wake of corruption in IPL, could succeed Shashank Manohar, the man who replaced him at the ICC.
Manohar, who went on to become world cricket’s first independent chairman in May 2016, resigned earlier this year after completing two full terms. The former BCCI president was eligible for a third but Manohar was not sure if he would sail through unopposed this time.
The BCCI sees the Nagpur lawyer as “anti-Indian” because Manohar’s model of distribution of ICC’s funds, based on equality, never amused India. BCCI continues to demand more money since India brings in the game’s largest revenue.
In a chat with Outlook recently, Srinivasan said: “Yes, I want to go to the ICC but I am waiting for a few things to sort out. I will talk about world cricket at an appropriate time.”
A difficult path
Srinivasan’s path to ICC has three major obstacles.
First, he must have legal clearance from the Supreme Court. Second, Srinivasan must have BCCI’s approval and support, and third and most importantly, he must be in a position to win a two-thirds majority in the 17-member ICC Board.
N. Srinivasan - Still worthy of wearing a crown, or least play a king-maker. File photo
Srinivasan is hoping that BCCI’s appeal in the Supreme Court, seeking a slew of amendments in the new constitution, will open the door for him to go to the ICC.
“Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah are hanging by the same thread along with me. I am hoping that this will get sorted soon,” Srinivasan said.
It may be pertinent to mention that both Ganguly and Shah have finished their term as president and secretary of the BCCI, respectively.
Well-placed sources say Srinivasan is banking on a very powerful Central minister to back him to represent India at ICC. Even if Srinivasan wins the minister’s support, how the 75-year-old will resolve the Shashank Manohar factor will be interesting to see.
It’s no secret that Srinivasan and Shashank Manohar hate each other.
“I don’t even consider him to be a president. Before he (Manohar) came to the ICC, India were 100 for no loss. After he came, India were 101 all out,” Srinivasan said.
The ICC so far has been unable to find a consensus candidate for the independent chairman’s post. Despite discussions over emails and phones, the ICC has been struggling to formulate a process to elect a chairman.
As per existing rules, a candidate must secure a two-third majority of the Board (12 out of 17 votes) to become chairman. Why a simple majority (9 out of 17) is not enough has been the question now.
The votes that matter
The 17 people who will decide the next chairman represent the 12 full member nations, the three associate member nations, the independent director (Indra Nooyi) and the acting chairman (Imran Khwaja of Singapore). Khwaja is known to be a Manohar man.
The two-third majority has now become a contentious matter. Apparently, the Manohar camp wants it to stay. With Khawaja doubling up as acting chairman, there will be 16 voters now. So 11 votes will be needed for a two-thirds majority and nine for simple. As of today, no one is guaranteed of 11 votes. That's also an indication of how divided world cricket is.
“If you can’t win the election, you can always spoil someone’s chances. Nobody likes a contest. Manohar was elected unopposed but things have changed now,” said a source.
England’s Colin Graves was once seen as a frontrunner to replace Manohar.
But once the name of Ganguly surfaced, the equations changed. Former ICC president Ehsan Mani showed interest but quickly withdrew while former West Indies Cricket Board president Dave Cameron is keen to contest.
It is learnt that Ganguly has Manohar’s support and if Srinivasan does not win the powerful minister’s backing or the law stops him, the former Indian captain could become a “compromise” candidate.
Interestingly, Manohar also has Pakistan’s support. The Pakistan Cricket Board had once led a rebellion against the ‘Big Three’ model of revenue distribution when Srinivasan was the ICC chairman.
Manohar will continue to haunt Srinivasan till the ICC comes clear on the election process and the BCCI makes up its mind to nominate a candidate for the chairman’s position.
For Srinivasan, for whom going back to ICC is ‘izzat ka sawal’ (matter of pride and respect), this is clearly now or never.
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