Must quit

N Srinivasan’s continuation as the BCCI president became untenable over a week ago, after Mumbai police revealed his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan’s involvement in IPL betting. Meiyappan’s alleged involvement in corrupt and illegal dealings over which he was also arrested a week ago directly hit Srinivasan’s trustworthiness to continue at the helm since he functioned as principal of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) franchise owned by the BCCI chief.

But the BCCI chief doesn’t seem to believe in the adage that ‘Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion’. In the process, he has made a mockery of the Board’s Anti-Corruption Code, which among others affirms that “Public confidence in the authenticity and integrity of the sporting contest is…vital. If that confidence is undermined, then the very essence of cricket will be shaken to the core.” 

If the BCCI chief has any sense of commitment to the Code or a sense of decency and moral responsibility, he should have resigned the day after the spot-fixing scandal broke out a few days ahead of his son-in-law’s alleged misdemeanours became public.

 Needless to state that the institution of a three-member commission to probe the Meiyappan and other related issues will have no credibility as long as Srinivasan is at the helm. The conflict of interest between Srinivasan’s positions as the BCCI chief and as the father-in-law of a person being investigated for wrongdoing cannot be brushed under the carpet as he heads a public body whose strength is public support for the game, not a private company where he can decide what he should do. 

While there is clearly an upsurge of public opinion that wants Srinivasan to quit, there has been a conspiracy of silence among senior players, past and present, administrators and others. Some Board officials have belatedly spoken out against Srinivasan, which though looks more like a battle for succession rather than a cleansing exercise. Team India captain S Dhoni doesn’t want to stick his neck out. So are other players. Worst, in the last few days some overenthusiastic loyalists of Srinivasan have done everything to undermine public confidence in the game. One of the popular TV commentators, who is also closely involved in IPL administration, went to the extent of suggesting that the huge crowd that the final match of the IPL-6 drew at Eden Gardens was proof that everything was hunky-dory in Indian cricket! And, an iconic former player continues to bat for the embattled president. Cronyism, dependence, patronage or fear of retribution? 

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