BCCI president N. Srinivasan showed no signs of anxiety at IPL party, say sources
At a press conference on Sunday evening, the under-pressure BCCI president is expected to slam media houses asking him to step down after his son-in-law and Chennai Super Kings member Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested by police to probe betting in IPL.
Under pressure to resign from his position as Board of Control for Cricket in India president, N. Srinivasan was in "great spirit" at a lavish dinner party thrown by former Board chief and the Cricket Association of Bengal boss, Jagmohan Dalmiya on Saturday night. According to several sources who attended the party at the posh Taj Bengal hotel, Srinivasan showed no signs of anxiety and was in great mood as gallons of at least two premium brands of Scotch whiskey flowed. (Read: Gurunath suspended by BCCI)
Except BCCI vice-president Arun Jaitley, almost all top BCCI members attended the party, a customary event ahead of any big tournament finale. The Indian Premier League championship final between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai India will be played at the Eden Gardens tonight. The dinner party started at 8 PM and ended close to mid-night. Srinivasan stayed throughout, enjoying his drinks with his closest Board allies. (Watch: Srinivasan remains defiant)
"He is in very aggressive mood. He is very confident of his position and has told insiders that the move to topple him is being taken by a powerful national-level minister from Maharashtra," revealed a very senior BCCI functionary, who refused to be identified. Srinivasan is going to address the media at 4 PM on Sunday and is expected to "lash out" against a particular TV channel, that has taken up the cudgels on behalf of a political heavyweight, who is well known in international cricket circles, said the BCCI source.
"Last night's party showed no signs of tension. At least, Srinivasan was never under pressure. He was his usual self talking to BCCI members. At least there is no threat to his position at this moment," said the BCCI official, saying it will be very difficult to garner the support of at least 10 Board affiliates to summon a meeting to oust Srinivasan. The source added Srinivasan and his allies will speak to several BCCI affiliates and gather their support on Sunday. "Srinivasan knows the number game very well," he said. ( Get elected to replace me: Srinivasan)
Many in the BCCI see history repeating itself and one man seems to be a common factor. Sources reveal that Sharad Pawar is allegedly playing "king maker." Interestingly in 2002, Srinivasan, then the president of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, joined hands with Pawar, Shashank Manohar and Lalit Modi to form a strong opposition to usurp Dalmiya's throne. A new BCCI was born under Pawar, with Srinivasan and Modi controlling the Board's activities.
"Today Modi and Srinivasan don't look eye to eye. Modi has been slamming Srinivasan every day from London and there was a time when both were like fast bowlers hunting in pairs," the BCCI functionary said. On Friday, a senior member of Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party censored Srinivasan and wanted him to quit on moral grounds. "Removing Srinivasan will not be easy even if he is not in Pawar's good books," he added.
"Morality and responsibility are two words confined to the dictionary. It doesn't work in the Indian Parliament and it never worked inside the BCCI. There are no permanent friends in the BCCI and no permanent enemies. So while anything can happen, right now Srinivasan's position remains intact," the BCCI source said, adding that an "interim arrangement can only happen if Srinivasan voluntary quits or two-thirds (24 members out of 31) of the BCCI governing body wants him to go." Sources also reveal, Manohar is not keen for any interim position, even if that was to happen.