If cricket is religion in India, N Srinivasan is undoubtedly its presiding deity. But as the faithful lurch from one betrayal to the other, he shows no signs of coming to their succour. Instead, he is likely cocooned with his henchmen, plotting his next evasive move. Nothing seems to faze the man. Not even the fact that the T-20 League is a breeding ground for match-fixers, where players have turned into bookies and teams are willing to sell themselves to the highest bidder.
When the Delhi police arrested S Sreesanth and two other cricketers for fixing, Srinivasan washed his hands of the shameful episode by blaming it all on the greed of the three players. He even had the gall to thank the public for not falling prey to this media frenzy against the League and coming in large numbers to watch the matches.
Today, when his son-in-law is being sought by the law enforcement agencies to answer allegations of heavy involvement in betting on the League matches, one wonders whom Srinivasan will thank now?
Maybe he will thank the entire staff at the India Cements for standing by him and members of his cricket team, the Chennai Super Kings. For Srinivasan is no ordinary man: He runs a business empire and is at the same time the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. He bullies the entire cricketing world. He is so powerful that, apparently, even the seam of a cricket ball can’t move by a millimetre without his orders.
His word is law for the cricket board. When the T-20 League was launched, the Board amended its constitution to allow him to own a team, against all the cannons of fairplay and corporate governance. When he speaks to the cricket world, no one knows in which capacity he is doing so: as the man who heads the Board or the one who owns the Chennai Super Kings.
When he thunders that the League is not bad and the show will go on, his cronies in India Cements must applaud the ingenuity of the man for usurping the entire cricketing establishment for the benefit of his business empire. So must all those, especially former players of outstanding merit like Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar, who are contracted by the Board (read Srinivasan) as commentators on television.
His ultimate genius lies in turning the Indian Board, a conglomerate of powerful businessmen, politicians, and bureaucrats, into a mute spectator of his brazen actions.
As the police circle his cricket empire, surely it's time to show him the door.
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