Caught in the conflict zone

New Delhi, Dec. 20 -- Which hat was N Srinivasan wearing when he, as alleged by Mohinder Amarnath, overruled the selection committee's decision to sack MS Dhoni as India skipper -- the BCCI president's or Chennai Super Kings owner? The decision may well have been taken by the BCCI president, keeping the best interests of Indian cricket in mind. But toss up this question for a debate, and the majority would be inclined to believe that the CSK owner stalled the move to remove his franchise captain as national captain.

For, the presence of the national skipper adds tremendous value to the franchise, making it far more lucrative and attractive to the sponsors.

Again, perception and reality get mixed up (and they are necessarily not different all the time) when the person stands in the middle of the conflict-of-interest zone.

And when the situation is of the individual's own making, there's more scope to attribute motives to his decisions.

With the BCCI president wearing various hats since 2008 - when as the treasurer he bid successfully for the IPL franchise after the Board altered its clause on conflict of interest and commercial interest - the vice has become widespread.

Wrong practice

So much so that it's no longer seen as something that should be avoided, and some of our best known cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri (they were contracted commentators with the BCCI), Anil Kumble (runs a player management/mentoring firm, apart from being the Karnataka State Cricket Association president) and K Srikkanth (was the chief selector and CSK brand ambassador) walked into the conflict zone.

While the conflict of interest was apparent, they somehow failed/chose not to acknowledge it.

"I am not surprised by what's happening in the BCCI. When the BCCI president has conflicting interests, how can he prevent others from following suit," said AC Muttiah, a former BCCI president, who's fighting a long-drawn legal battle with Srinivasan on this issue.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.


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