N Srinivasan's clout in the BCCI ends with Shashank Manohar succeeding as new president for a second stint after Dalmiya's demise
N Srinivasan's last, desperate moment for a bit of sunshine flickered for a few moments, but disappeared as dark clouds covered the Mumbai horizon, rains destroying the two cent hope the Chennai cement tycoon had to regain his foothold in the world's richest cricket board.
During a private lunch, Sharad Pawar and Shashank Manohar were told that Srinivasan had not given up hope. They were told that in a petition in the Chennai High Court, BJP's Subramaniam Swamy had argued that Manohar was the man who cleared contracts during the contentious IPL regime headed by Lalit Modi. And that, the Interpol was looking into Manohar's role along with that of Modi.
Srinivasan, who had hoped to split up his rivals, post Jagmohan Dalmiya's death and had even met up with Pawar at Nagpur and offered him the presidentship, realised he had no takers. Barring the Secretary's post, the rest of the posts had Srinivasan loyalists.
The veteran sports administrator threw in the towel. His popularity has been on the wane ever since the IPL scandal rocked BCCI in May 2013 and he told his confidants that he felt sad that, "I am not liked anymore, even friends are talking against me". He also realised that the BCCI, which had nominated him to the ICC as chairman, could even change its nomination.
Friends, but not anymore
To him, it seemed people who were once friends had started a late, spring-cleaning of the board. On paper, 22 out of 30 state cricket associations had voted against him, Sourav Ganguly, the newly crowned Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president air dashed to Mumbai to recommend Manohar's name, even at the cost of missing a seat on a private jet to Chennai for the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) where his team was participating.
The wave was too much for Srinivasan to handle. The ICC head, whose autocratic behaviour often tarnished the image of the world's richest cricket board, knew his game was up. His trusted lieutenants, BCCI Treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, vice-president TC Mathew and BCCI joint-secretary Jayesh George advised Srini not to push his agenda further.
Srinivasan also realised how Ajay Shirke, former BCCI Treasurer, was in the forefront of the out-Srinivasan campaign and stacking up evidence against him for what could be a CBI enquiry — Manohar has supported the move earlier — against Srinivasan.
Shirke had even told Pawar not to back the Chennai strong man, even pushed BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur to request Finance Minister Arun Jaitley not to entertain any clamours from Srinivasan. The FM, who had once dumped Manohar and gave Srinivasan a lifeline, was totally against Pawar's re-emergence in Indian cricket. Soon after Srinivasan left Nagpur, Jaitley urged Manohar to pad up for the president's innings.
Srinivasan made one final attempt, seeking an appointment with BJP president Amit Shah. But Shah was already warned by BJP bigwigs against entertaining the Chennai cement tycoon. As things stand, cement, not cricket, appears to be a better option for Srinivasan.
Shashank Manohar and N Srinivasan may have turned foes after the 2013 Indian Premier League spot fixing and betting scandal, but new BCCI chief Manohar hailed the contribution of the current ICC chairman.
Manohar and Srinivasan formed a formidable partnership as president and secretary from 2008 to 2011. "I can tell you Srinivasan was an excellent Secretary. He was better than most of the secretaries I have come across in the Board. He was one of the best secretaries, by far the best Secretary after Jagmohan Dalmiya.
"I don't know what happened after I completed my term in 2011. I was not in touch of the day-to-day activities of the Board," Manohar said.
Manohar left it to the BCCI's General Body to decide whether to support Srinivasan as chairman of the International Cricket Council.