Opinion: BCCI Brouhaha 2: Srini's Revenge

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It is becoming increasingly clear that the BCCI cannot see a future that does not include the India Cements boss at the head of the organisation, writes Peter Miller.

As the IPL heads back to India, the cloud of litigation and spot fixing from the last edition still hangs over it. Since the <a href='http://www.cricket365.com/soapbox/story/9237884/Opinion-IPL-brouhaha-doesn-t-inspire-confidence' class='instorylink'><b>last time we covered this story</b></a> things have moved on somewhat.

At the last hearing, the Supreme Court in Delhi had said that the BCCI needed to come up with a panel to investigate the allegations stemming from the 2013 tournament. The son-in-law of BCCI president N Srinivasan has been caught up in the affair with allegations of illegal betting and foreknowledge of cricketing events at the heart of issues.

The original investigation that was carried out by the BCCI has been roundly criticised, with suggestions made that with Srinivasan still at the head of the organisation there was no way for a clear or transparent enquiry to take place.

The Supreme Court's move to force Srinivasan to step aside at the end of March was a response to this. In the most recent court hearings the BCCI's lawyers have pushed for this order to force Srinivasan to hand authority to someone else to be rescinded.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the BCCI cannot see a future that does not include the India Cements boss at the head of the organisation.

Even with Srinivasan sidelined there was still no real move by the BCCI to have an impartial panel put together to look into the messy allegations. The three names proposed by the BCCI were former Chief justice JN Patel, former CBI head RK Raghavan and commentary box stalwart Ravi Shastri.

The governing body must have hoped that the weight and fame of these proposed names would be enough for the Supreme Court to leave them to get their own house in order.

It soon emerged that there was more to these names than meets the eye. Patel is related through marriage to interim BCCI president Shivlal Yadav, Raghavan is the secretary of a club where Srinivasan is the president and Ravi Shastri is a long standing employee of the BCCI.

The court rejected this proposed panel out of hand and took decisive action. They have approached Justice Mugdal, the man who carried out the probe that led to these proceedings, and asked him if he was willing to take on a more wide ranging investigation.

This has not pleased the BCCI and its lawyers. They have requested that they be allowed to propose another set of investigators. The BCCI have really shot itself in the foot by looking to keep control of this.

The Supreme Court was keen to allow the BCCI autonomy. If the names of those proposed did not represent such a conflict of interest it may have been able to keep the investigation in house.

Now the court appears to have lost patience. They have directed Mugdal to look into this and it seems unlikely that they will back down. So where does this leave the BCCI president?

As things stand, Srinivasan remains set to take up the chairmanship of the International Cricket Council in June. The identity of the person who is instilled in that post is in the hands of the BCCI, part of the deal that saw the 'Big Three' boards take an even tighter grip on the world game. It seems unlikely that anyone from the other full members of the ICC has the power or the inclination to stop this from happening.

The court has given the Mugdal panel until September to get together its findings. While the BCCI are lobbying the courts to allow Srinivasan to take up the reins again it seems likely that he will remain in limbo at least until then.

We therefore find ourselves facing the very real possibility that the man that who will be the figurehead of our game worldwide will be suspended from his home board while he is investigated by the Indian apex court.

While the spectre of fixing and the malign influence of illegal bookmakers shrouds the game, a man who has been accused of obstructing an investigation into just that could be in charge of the sport.

It could be that those cricket fans that have an interest in how the game is run will be in need of some anti-nausea tablets to see them through the coming months.

<b>Peter Miller</b>

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