Sundar Raman - The rise and fall of IPL's former COO
BCCI's biggest loner, Sundar Raman's decade-plus tryst with cricket — interestingly — started way back in 2004 after he left Fulcrum to join ESPN Star Sports and convinced Close Up to sponsor Search for Harsha.
Sundar Raman during a BCCI meeting. Pic/Atul Kamble
The talent-hunt to find a successor to one of India's most genial anchors with a MBA background as a springboard for Raman to get closer to sports (read cricket) management.
Also Read: Sundar Raman resigns from post as IPL COO
He was once to Lalit Modi what VP Singh was to Rajiv Gandhi, often looking out at the Mumbai horizon like a satisfied tycoon from the glass paneled room of his 36th floor office where he worked closely with Modi. And when Modi was jettisoned by the all-powerful N Srinivasan, the wily Raman changed sides and colours with consummate ease.
The North-South transition — from the wild colours of Rajasthan to the serenity of Tamil Nadu — was often talked about in BCCI. Raman mostly handled cash, he was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the world's richest cricket board and had ocean-like responsibilities. He worked closely with Srinivasan, often accompanying the Chennai-based tycoon for his golf sorties, and worked exactly like His Master's Voice.
Showdown with DD
He was powerful, and never minced his words. A fiery duel between him and Sunil Valson of Delhi Daredevils in 2010 IPL is — actually — part of the league folklore.
Delhi Daredevils, in fact, wrote an official complaint to BCCI. It's needless to mention that it was consigned to the bin the very moment it was received.
And then, Raman had a great fall, indicted by the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee for being in touch with a top bookie during the tumultuous spot-fixing days of IPL.
But not to be outdone and largely encouraged by Srinivasan, Raman routinely attended board meetings. After all, he had all the backing he needed.
But with changing equations, he put in his papers early last month because BCCI's new president, Shashank Manohar, was pushing hard for Raman's punishment if found guilty. Worse, he had fallen out with BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur who called him "a mere employee" of the BCCI.
Frustrated to the core, Raman even met friendly reporters at his office, and egged them to highlight how he was the lone ranger who gathered all the cash for BCCI, sitting pretty on a R4000 crore-plus income. He even announced loudly: "I will soon demit office."
He should have actually said: "I will seek a new office". In modern dispensation of sports, politics and business, both players and managers drop if out of form and favour. Raman learnt it the hard way.