Badfellas: The Demise of Srinivasan

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Is there a spring in your step today? There should be. N Srinivasan, one of the primary orchestrators of the Big Three stitch up at the ICC last year, has finally been given his marching orders. It’s fantastic news. His reign of error at the ICC is at an end.

The man who has done so much to damage world cricket – impoverishing smaller nations, contracting the World Cup to ten teams, and dragging the game through the mud thanks to his involvement with numerous scandals – has skulked back to his cave. It’s just a shame that by ‘cave’ I mean ‘massive luxurious mansion’.

Srinivasan was forced to stand aside as ICC chairman this week because he no longer enjoyed the support of the all-powerful BCCI. It’s a bit like the ECB pulling the rug from underneath Giles Clarke (if only).

The BCCI finally realised what most of us have been saying for a long time: that a man who has been investigated by the supreme court of India for corruption, and whose involvement with the Chennai Super Kings was a clear conflict of interest, simply wasn’t fit to be the most powerful man in world cricket. Halle-bloody-lujah.

We’ll have to wait and see what transpires in the coming weeks, months and years, but the new BCCI president Shashank Manohar seems keen to put clear blue water between his administration and the grotty past. Part of this vision is to eradicate conflict of interests – a move which, if it proves to be genuine and effective, should be applauded.

However, a number of challenges remain at the ICC – and of course, a lot of damage has already been done. It’s hard to see Manohar reducing the money and power India, England and Australia grabbed during last year’s coup – a plan drawn up seedily behind closed doors. Nor is there likely to be a reprieve for the associate nations set to miss the 2019 World Cup.

What’s more – and this is bad news for anyone who has a conscious – the divisive Giles Clarke remains very much at the heart of the ICC. Indeed he’s set to become chairman in June next year. Well, nobody said the world was fair.

Clarke and Srinivasan were kindred spirits: two men who shared the same malodorous, self-interested, worldview. With Srinivasan gone, people who care deeply about the game can expect Clarke to push forward with his apparent plan to make cricket the fiefdom of wealthy minorities.

This is where the ECB really needs to step up. There was some good news a few weeks ago when Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive who has proved so evasive on major issues in the past, revealed he was open to the idea of cricket featuring in the Olympics.

Although cricket and the Olympics aren’t necessarily a natural fit, Olympic status would bring vital funding to associate nations in dire need of a cash boost. It would also raise the profile of the support and bring the game to new audiences. Basically, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages – that’s if one’s priority is to grow the game of course.

Anyone who has seen the important film Death of a Gentleman knows only too well that Giles Clarke is opposed to the idea. Of course he is. Bringing cricket to the masses isn’t his priority. As he freely admits in the film, he believes it’s his job to represent only the ECB’s interests, rather then looking after the vitality of the global game.

Harrison and other administrators around the world must realise that someone with Clarke’s agenda must never, ever, become chairman of the ICC. His outlook and priorities couldn’t be less suitable.

James Morgan

6 Comments

  1. I wouldn’t keep my hopes high on Manohar, because, the announcement seemed to imply that, he would be ICC chief in name only & for all practical purposes, Sharad Pawar (a powerful regional politician who harboured hopes of being Prime Minister) would be India’s representative at ICC – which would make Sharad Pawar the new boss, I guess.

    Not sure, what all this means for world cricket, frankly…

  2. We should start a petition based on the back of Death of a Gentleman for the ECB to officially relinquish their support for Giles Clarke. I’m sure it would get plenty of signatures if promoted through the same channels.

  3. I started writing an article about how to start fixing the many problems of international cricket a few weeks ago. After about 38 drafts I remained blocked by my central conclusion: that for any progress to be made Srinivasan had to be removed from the leadership of the ICC. Of course, there are many other important steps to take at the international, and national levels and in England (& Wales) through to the Counties too.

    Srinivasan’s removal is a brilliant start! I’m not as hostile to Clarke as some (he has done a pretty good job of supporting the ECB’s financial position) but there is SO MUCH to do to get Cricket in shape to become the world’s summer sport as it should be and to liberate the entirely natural interest that literally billions of young boys and girls across the globe could channel in to our wonderful sport.

    Structure, governance, participation, digital involvement, support to encourage nations with only incipient cricket interest, extension in nations with more developed participation and democratic accountability throughout the sport….not much to do after all, but this at least makes the hope that we could achieve some of this agenda not quite as absurd as it seemed with Srinivasan in charge. A happy day.

  4. Dileep quoted The Bard in his article – “the evil that men do lives after them”. Whatever good Numbnuts did for the BCCI, the damage caused to good governance and Associate cricket in particular remains huge.

    Whoever replaces Numbnuts needs to be seen to be cleaner than Mary Whitehouse’s bookshelves and must ensure they remain so. If they are truly serious about cleaning up the top level of the ICC then the poisonous Giles Clarke (the last of the Twattish Triumvirate to remain in post) must go. By hook or by crook, I really care how. Then the Srini puppets must be evacuated and the Woolf report proposals be revisited by an independent body of cricket and governance experts with a view to implementing them.

    it’s not rocket science. Question is, has Manowar got the balls to do this?

    Time will tell.

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