N Srinivasan, who was barred from his post as chief of the Indian cricket board over corruption in the Indian Premier League, has become the chairman of the International Cricket Council or ICC. Srinivasan's rise to the top cricket post comes months after he was suspended by the Supreme Court as the president of the BCCI or Board for Control of Cricket in India.
Controversial changes to the ICC that handed the majority of the powers and revenue to cricket's "big three" - India, Australia and England - facilitated his ascension to the newly created post. Srinivasan and his committee will now control revenue share among member nations. BCCI is expected to be the biggest beneficiary followed by England and Australia. Srinivasan will also have a say on ICC governance and that will also give cricket's big boys the flexibility to pick and choose the teams they want to play with.
The 69-year-old industrialist, seen as the most powerful man in world cricket, was among 13 people named in a damning report into corruption allegations in the Indian Premier League. The IPL Twenty20 competition has been caught in allegations of illegal betting and spot-fixing, including against Mr Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan.
In March, the Supreme Court said it was "nauseating" that N Srinivasan continued as cricket board chief and said he should go in the interest of a clean-up in cricket. The probe panel is expected to submit its report August-end. Till then, N. Srinivasan will not be able to chair BCCI meetings, at least officially. Former Test off-spinner Shivlal Yadav, who is a senior BCCI vice-president, is standing in as interim BCCI president.
But the court did not stop his nomination to the ICC post.
The approval of the constitutional changes, which flowed from an ICC Board resolution taken in Singapore on February 8 and finalised on April 10, also means that a new Executive Committee was formed, which will report to the ICC Board.
On ethical grounds, Srinivasan's appointment as ICC chairman has been opposed by the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations and the Cricket Association of Bihar, the main petitioner in the 2013 IPL corruption case. It remains to be seen how the ICC's ethics commission handles his future if the Supreme Court indicts Srinivasan in the IPL scam case.
With its massive TV audiences, India generates almost 70 percent of the game's revenues and its board is the world's richest.
"It is an honour to be confirmed as the Chairman of the International Cricket Council," said Mr Srinivasan, adding: "I will leave no stone unturned in trying to strengthen the pillars and foundations of our sport, both on and off the field. I want to ensure that cricket retains and grows its popularity, and that the ICC plays a leading role in this global growth."
(With inputs from AFP)