Narayanswamy Srinivasan is not easily liked when you consider the swagger with which he counters criticism, personalises an attack on an enemy, and even challenges the court of law with astonishing conviction. He's the sort of individual who would ridicule opinions of nine member board representatives at an International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting, and still get his way.
Fresh guard: N Srinivasan (left), Mumbai Cricket Association chief
Vilasrao Deshmukh and IPL boss Rajiv Shukla during the Annual General
Meeting of the Board at the Cricket Centre in Churchgate yesterday.
Srinivasan took over as the new BCCI president from Shashank Manohar
"This Srinivasan is so arrogant, he's going to create a lot of enemies if he continues like this," a South African administrator said after meeting him for the first time last year. And no, that's not because he represents the world's most powerful cricket body. But there's his body of work that has earned him unconditional support of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and state association office bearers.
He's been a successful businessman and sports administrator at every stage of his life. That is finally sinking in among all. Yesterday, he officially opened his innings as BCCI President. And he certainly didn't throw up any surprises. He ruled out a post mortem of the disastrous tour to England, defended facilities at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), and even gave his own spin to the persisting question of BCCI's injury management system.
"I don't like to lose," he said with a firm voice when asked his solution to India's performance in England. "The BCCI's direction (for the next three years) is already set. There aren't going to be any major changes. We have belief in this Indian team and that won't change too. They need our support and we are standing by them thoroughly," he told reporters after the Board's AGM yesterday.
Srinivasan made a massive impression on BCCI officials while attending the Working Committee meetings as Tamil Nadu CA President in the early 2000s. Very quickly he got into the good books of both Jagmohan Dalmiya and Sharad Pawar, before quietly putting together a band (from the backroom) to overthrow the former, and support the latter's presidential candidature.
Seven years later, Srinivasan is the almighty in the BCCI. "I have always let my work do the talking, I never believed in lobbying behind anyone. I have had to earn the trust of all, and I don't intend to let anyone down," Srinivasan told MiD DAY.
"I am a sports administrator first, and then a businessman. I will always let my bat do the talking. I am excited about the next three years," he added. Srinivasan has been running 14 local cricket leagues in Chennai by himself. He increased funds of each district association (in Tamil Nadu) to two lakhs each (per annum) to further help development of cricket in the state. "I still feel a lot can be done at the state-level. We (TNCA) might have set a good example for that," he said.
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Constitutional changes expected?
As TNCA President, Srinivasan amended a law just to continue as the top boss even after eight years. While some might say it was a dictatorial approach, Srinivasan felt that he was the only one for the job. "He is very outspoken, and doesn't hide punches. He is for the game, and not a power monger. He calls selectors and talks to them before Tamil Nadu and Chennai Super Kings prepare for a tour," a close confidant Prabhakar Rao said.
Ironically, Srinivasan will be heading the Constitution Review Committee of the BCCI over the next three years. Don't be surprised if Srinivasan gathers enough support to eliminate the zonal system (rotation) for BCCI Presidents.