Will Shashank Manohar scupper N Srinivasan's plans?
New Delhi: Shashank Manohar’s next birthday could bring double joy for him. On the day he turns 56, September 29, he might return as president for a second stint, as that’s the day when the BCCI’s annual general meeting is set to be held.
Manohar’s return, however, is not an absolute certainty as of today. What has been established at this juncture is that his name is being talked about as a possible challenger to N. Srinivasan. Some BCCI associations that are not happy with the way the BCCI’s name is being sullied all around following the IPL fixing scandal have propped up Manohar’s name.
These associations, which are still keeping their cards close to their chests, are re-thinking their loyalty to incumbent president Srinivasan, who is currently in self-imposed exile following his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan’s involvement in the IPL fixing scandal. Telephone lines, according to sources, are buzzing across the country, with the epicentre being Nagpur, which co-incidentally is also the central-most point of the country.
Rapid developments related to the IPL scandal — largely in the domain of the courts and police — in the last few days have made tongues within the BCCI wag a little more. The reason is that these developments are either related to Srinivasan himself, his son-in-law or his company or India Cements.
This and other events, like the PIL by the Cricket Association of Bihar over the composition of the two-member probe commission that is being heard in Supreme Court, have forced some BCCI associations to rethink support to Srinivasan, who has one more year left in his three-year tenure, subject to a contest if a challenger emerges. And the most likely challenger could be Manohar.
There are several factors that are in his favour. He is an eminent lawyer, is non-controversial, carries an impeccable image, and, perhaps most importantly, is not greedy for power. But ask Manohar and he brushes aside any talk of him being interested in the top BCCI post.
“I was away in my village. I returned only last night to Nagpur and went to the court today (Monday). There is nothing as such... media can write any name it wishes. You know that I don’t answer hypothetical questions,” Manohar told MAIL TODAY from Nagpur when asked if he was game for a second term.
However, sources close to Manohar say that something is surely brewing. “His name is definitely being floated around as he carries a very clean image. These days, he often remains busy on teleconferences,” a source said, giving a small hint of the background strategy that might be chalked out ahead of the September 29 AGM.
Practically, Manohar’s return would require a lot of drama, as there is no provision yet for a former BCCI president to come back for a second term — the amended constitution to that effect would be implemented only in September next year. However, if a Board president can step aside and an interim president can be appointed in an extraordinary situation, Manohar’s return can also not be ruled out.
If Manohar, who doesn’t hold any position in the Vidarbha Cricket Association, agrees to the disgruntled associations’ wish, he would have to come from the south zone as Srinivasan has one year still left. Manohar will need a proposer and seconder from the south zone. Manohar is not desperate for power at all and will not take the plunge until he is not 100 per cent sure of his win. “He wouldn’t want any opposition. He would to return to the BCCI only when he would feel fully secure,” said another source, who knows Manohar well.
“It is important to know the current dynamics of the Board. Manohar is very close to Sharad Pawar, who is also opposed to Srinivasan and hasn’t forgotten his defeat by a casting vote of Jagmohan Dalmiya in 2004. Then there’s A.C. Muthiah, who introduced Srinivasan to the BCCI, but has since parted ways and even filed a conflict of interest case against his protege in the Supreme Court,” he said.
Indications are ominous for Srinivasan. The Goa Cricket Association last week abstained from a meeting of the six zonal associations that Srinivasan had called, thus setting off speculation. Although Kerala was present at the meeting, a source said following the life ban on their star fast bowler Sreesanth, the state association must feel hurt and could switch sides.
Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.