Under-fire Srinivasan faces more heat to step down

Last Updated 27 March 2014, 15:24 IST

Pushed to the brink following the Supreme Court's sweeping proposals to clean up the game, a beleaguered BCCI President N Srinivasan found himself under intense pressure to step down with senior administrators and former players asking him to abide by the apex court's suggestions.

Srinivasan spent most part of the day at home in Chennai having telephonic conferences with his legal experts and his close confidants in the BCCI but continued to maintain a stoic silence on the developments.

In a huge jolt for the Tamil Nadu strongman, the Supreme Court today proposed the replacement of Srinivasan by former captain Sunil Gavaskar and suspension of franchises Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals from IPL 7 till the pendency of the betting and spot fixing case.

The apex court also proposed to pass an order barring India Cements officials from getting involved with the functioning of BCCI.

Soon after the court's proposals, more pressure was put on Srinivasan to voluntarily step down from the president's post with legends of the game like Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Bishan Singh Bedi and Kris Srikkanth asking him to abide by the apex court's suggestions.

BCCI Vice-President Ravi Sawant, former secretary Niranjan Shah and former treasurer Ajay Shirke were among the administrators who urged him to quit in the interest of Indian cricket.

Gavaskar was open to the idea of taking up the president's post, saying it will be a great "honour" to adhere to the directives of the highest court of the land.

"First and foremost, if the highest court suggests something, you have to do so but that has to be on record. I am currently contracted with BCCI as a commentator. But if Supreme Court wants me to do that, I will do it," he said. 

"When the Supreme Court asks you, there is no question about it, there is not much you can do and I will be happy to do what they ask me to do", Gavaskar said.

Gavaskar, a former Indian captain, said he would wait for the final order from the court.

"I will consider it, it will be a huge honour that Supreme Court feels I will be good enough to do the job. But we will have to wait and watch until tomorrow in which direction it goes. Let's not jump the gun," the former Indian captain said.

Asked if he is prepared for the challenge, Gavaskar said: "As an opening batsman, you have to be prepared for all kinds of challenges, you have to play in all kinds of pitches, you are always prepared for a challenge mentally and physically.

"Even today, although I am happy to be away from the limelight, I am prepared to do what is needed if the Supreme Court wants me to do so," he added.

The final picture on Srinivasan's fate is likely to emerge tomorrow when the court gives an interim order in the case after listening to BCCI's response.

The Supreme Court's proposal to suspend CSK and Rajasthan Royals from the seventh edition of the IPL has also thrown the cash-rich T20 event into jeopardy. It will mean that the tournament will be reduced to a six-team affair and the entire schedule will have to be reworked.

It will also create contractual problems with the broadcasters and franchises who have been promised a certain number of matches.

The BCCI's constitution does not allow an outsider to occupy the position of president which will mean that it will have amend its constitution to accommodate Gavaskar at the helm as per the suggestion of the court.

Ravi Sawant, who is the BCCI vice-president from West Zone, said the Board will have to act according to the Supreme Court suggestions.

"The SC has given just one day and it has said it will pass its interim order tomorrow. So there is no time to call an emergency meeting of the Board. Whatever the SC says in its order tomorrow, we will have to abide by it. There is no other way," he said. 

Sawant has no direct answer on the proposal of the Supreme Court to replace Srinivasan by Gavaskar till the case in the IPL fixing and betting scandal is decided."There is a procedure in the BCCI Constitution regarding the vacancy of the president. Whatever the SC has proposed I don't know whether it will fit with the BCCI Constitution or whether it (the SC order) will overwrite the Constitution of the BCCI," he said.

Former captains Rahul Dravid, Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Anil Kumble said on the sidelines of a function in Bangalore that everybody will have to abide by the Supreme Court order.

"The matter is subjudice. We don't know what is exactly happening. Till the Supreme Court comes out with its order, it is not proper to comment on the issue. The Supreme Court is supreme and everybody will have to follow what it says. There is no other way," Srikkanth said.

"It's subjudice and we can comment only after the Supreme Court passes its order," Dravid said.

Kumble said whatever the Supreme Court orders, the Board and everybody will have to follow as law-abiding citizens.

"Beyond this, I can't comment on a matter which is subjudice. But the situation is no different for a cricketer. It's nothing new. Whatever is happening in cricket, we can see in the society also. Of course, we need to tackle this and clean up the game."

Former BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah felt the rot in the BCCI has gone too far and the Board will now have to clean up the game before the public loses interest in it.

"It's a bad day for BCCI. Things have gone far beyond and it will only hurt cricket a lot. But I think in the interest of cleaning up the game, may be the Supreme Court's observations are correct. Whatever the Supreme Court decides BCCI will have to abide by it," he said.

"Most of the BCCI members are in dark about what is transpiring in the last 7-8 days. So, the BCCI should immediately, without any further delay, call Special General Body meeting and apprise all members about what has happened. And then the persons who are responsible should be taken to task." 

(Published 27 March 2014, 15:24 IST)

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