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Future tense for Indian cricket board chief as Supreme Court wants him to go

Dubai: The next two days can see a tectonic shift in the Indian cricket board with the pressure mounting on Narayanaswamy Srinivasan, the embattled president to resign. The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday asked him to quit or be forced to leave to ensure a fair investigation into charges of match-fixing in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

While the build-up to the seventh edition of IPL took a bodyblow with the Indian apex court’s strong indictment of Srinivasan, his accession to the chairman’s post of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in June may not also be a smooth one with the recent developments.

“Why is Srinivasan sticking to his chair? If you don’t step down, then we will pass an order,” Supreme Court justice A.K. Patnaik told the court in New Delhi. The court will reconvene in two days and informed sources feel Srinivasan — who had ‘stepped aside’ last June after the match-fixing scandal first broke — may this time give in with one of his preferred vice-presidents stepping in as a face-saving gesture.

The name of Shivlal Yadav, a senior vice-president from the South Zone and known to be close to Srinivasan, is doing the rounds to take over should the strongman of Indian cricket step down. Speaking to Gulf News from India, the former off-spinner said he was ready for the job: “I am not aware of the observations, but if the Supreme Court has made it, it has to be followed. Any decision has to be ratified by the BCCI working committee and a special general meeting, but I am ready to accept the job.”

Srinivasan told reporters in Chennai that he did not want to comment on the court’s decision, while the ICC called it an “internal matter” for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), adding the governing body cannot intervene in the issue.

The IPL fixing controversy erupted last year after several cricketers, including Test discard Shantakumaran Sreesanth, were arrested by Indian police for allegedly giving away a minimum number of runs in exchange for money from bookies.

Srinivasan’s position on the BCCI has been considered untenable since a three-member committee headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal found Chennai Super Kings team principal and his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan guilty of being in touch with illegal bookmakers in its report forwarded to the Supreme Court.

The finding came after the Bombay High Court last year referred to the two-member BCCI panel that initially cleared Meiyappan of his charges as “illegal and unconstitutional.”

Meanwhile, veteran administrator Jagmohan Dalmiya — who stepped in as interim president when Srinivasan took a backseat — refused to comment on the issue. “It is subjudice and a very serious issue. I would rather not comment on this,” he told Gulf News.

– With inputs from agencies