Sun | Jul 23, 2017

Do as I say, but not as I do

Published:Sunday | November 23, 2014 | 11:00 AM
AP Suspended Indian cricket board chief Narainswamy Srinivasan (foreground left), is received by temple officials as he arrives to offer prayers at the Raja Rajeswara Hindu Temple in Kannur, Kerala, India, Monday, November 17.

The big three of cricket, India, England, and Australia, recently took over the International Cricket Conference after promising its members, every one of them, more money, plenty more money.

Every member, from the West Indies to Bangladesh, excluding South Africa, who voted yes mainly because of the reprieve granted their chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, and but for Pakistan, voted in indecent haste for the take-over on promises of money, plenty money.

The poor countries also voted, probably unintentionally, for the take-over of cricket by India when they voted in Narayanaswani Srinivasan, the president of the Indian Board of Control, as chairman of the ICC, even though he was under investigation by the Supreme Court of India for the 2013 corruption scandal in the Indian Premier League and was relieved temporarily of the Indian part of his responsibilities.

To vote in Srinivasan as head of the ICC, especially after he was barred from the BCCI presidency, was a perfect example of the popular saying, "do as I say, but not as I do."

Srinivasan was under investigation in the scandal for match-fixing, betting and obstruction. The Supreme Court barred him from holding the BCCI presidency while he was under investigation, and yet the ICC, the body which has been, quite rightly, against corruption in cricket, against fighting match-fixing in cricket, and who has suspended many and banned a few from playing cricket for match-fixing, or betting, or for knowing a bookie, voted him in as its chairman.

That is surely a case of doing what I say, but not what I do.

According to a report from the ICC meeting after the take-over last year, there was no opposition to the constitutional changes, nor to Srinivasan's leadership. One man simply said, "we were all lambs, and we all said yes in all the right places."

ICC MUM

The ICC has said very little about Srinivasan and his position since the vote, and with Srinivasan as chairman, that was expected. Srinivasan himself, however, said a few months ago, "I have done nothing wrong, there is no wrongdoing on my part, and, therefore, my conscience is clear. There is no taint on me. Whatever investigations there are will take their course, it will come out. Reports will come out. But unless I have in my mind any doubt have I done anything wrong, I have to think if I have not done (wrong), I do not have any concern."

Well, I wonder, not so much what the ICC is thinking now, but what Srinivasan is saying.

According to the Mudgal committee report released two Fridays ago about the ILP scandal, Srinivasan is not guilty of either betting or match-fixing or of having tried to prevent an investigation into the corruption scandal.

According to the report, however, Srinivasan and three other BCCI officials, including a buddy of his, knew about an IPL player violating the code of conduct but took no action.

His buddy is Sundar Raman, chief operating of the IPL, an official of the BCCI and a member of the ICC's Integrity Working Party, a committee which is reviewing cricket's collective approach to the threat of corruption, the function of the ICC's and member boards' domestic anti-corruption units, and their inter-relationships.

He is said, by the Mudgal committee, to be guilty of knowing of the violation but also took no action.

Raman was also the chief man behind the take-over of ICC by India, England and Australia last year, and he was the one who threatened that India would go it alone if the new plans were not accepted.

"Raman knew a contact of a bookie and he had contacted him eight times in one season, and when questioned, he admitted that he knew the man but was unaware of his connection with betting activities," said the Mudgal report.

According to the report, Raman also knew of the involvement of the other two, of Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of Srinivasan and an official of Chennai Super Kings, and of Raj Kundra, a co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals, but also did nothing about them.

He did say, according to the report, that he was informed by the ICC-ACSU chief that that was not actionable information.

This is very interesting, and it is very interesting, especially as a recommendation was made to the ICC by the three bosses of cricket that in future everything pertaining to the ICC-ACSU be dealt with by the chairman of ICC rather than by the chief executive of the ICC.

matter deferred

That matter was deferred, but the chairman of ICC was, and still is, Srinivasan.

Considering that the ICC once threatened that players who knew of anyone who is involved in match-fixing and betting and did not talk to anyone about it would be in trouble, and that the ICC has said that any player who was even contacted by a bookie must report it or else, what now will it do to Srinivasan and Raman, to Meiyappan and Kundra, and also to the ICC-ACSU chief if found guilty.

As far as the fight against match-fixing and betting go, they certainly should be treated no different from many of those who have felt the heat, certainly not from one like Marlon Samuels, who, up to today, deny any wrong doing, except for knowing a man named Mukesh Kochar, who was said to be a bookie.

Samuels, like Raman, said he was guilty of nothing more, and yet he lost two years of his career. As guardians of the castle, if they are found guilty, what will Srinivasan and Raman, Meiyappan and Kundra lose, if anything?

The news out of India, according to Sharda Ugra, a popular cricket writer in India, is that almost the entire BCCI is supporting Srinivasan and Raman. The mood, she says, suggests, "he is one of our own, let's protect him."

Whoever he is, however, in whatever country it is, or whatever language used, fair is supposed to be fair.