Home > Features >

Supreme Court’s proposal for Sunil Gavaskar to take over from N Srinivasan is an extraordinary honour for the Little Master

Sunil Gavaskar faces a mountain task ahead of him © IANS
Sunil Gavaskar faces a mountainous task ahead of him © IANS

The Supreme Court has bestowed an extraordinary honour on Sunil Gavaskar by proposing his name as the replacement of N Srinivasan as the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Arunabha Sengupta reflects on the possible reasons and probable reactions.

“As an opening batsman, you have to be prepared for all kinds of challenges, you have to play in all kinds of pitches, you are always prepared for a challenge mentally and physically.” Thus spoke Sunil Gavaskar in the aftermath of Supreme Court’s trendsetting action of proposing his name as the replacement President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

And if there is some uncertainty about the conditions, Gavaskar was known to play with the straightest of bats, to watch closely for late movement, never one to commit himself to the stroke even a wee bit earlier than necessary.

Hence, it is hardly surprising that he added: “But we will have to wait and watch until tomorrow (Friday) in which direction it goes. Let’s not jump the gun.”

Full coverage of Supreme Court hearing on IPL 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal

As ever, Gavaskar has the perfect idea about the best moment to take strike. He also understands that a huge honour has been bestowed on him.

No, it is not that Gavaskar will be proving anything special by occupying a position previously held by N Srinivasan. It is indeed an administrative position, but it is also the post at the pinnacle of Indian cricket. Gavaskar’s sheer weight of cricketing credentials tilt the balance in his favour against all the previous Board Presidents put together.

However, the honour lies in being singled out by the Supreme Court as the person in whom one can entrust the future of cricket in these dreadfully murky days.

Of course, the suggestion of the Supreme Court also stems from the absolute lack of confidence in the apex body governing cricket in India. The court wants to nullify the chances of the BCCI erecting a puppet President with plenty of blatant controlling strings for Srinivasan and his cronies to pull.

Yet, that is perhaps what constitutes the teeny tiny glitch in this recommendation.

There remains a rather huge number of followers of the game who still perceive the Little Master as a man of the Srinivasan camp. There remains the contract as a commentator that binds the great man to the BCCI. And there remain the many, many complaints that the man, who had stood steadfastly up against the administration in his playing days, has been incredibly reticent while speaking about the misdeeds of the Board.

While airing his views on topics as varied and controversial as the ‘Big Three takeover’ to the dilemma over DRS (Decision Review System), Gavaskar has been either supportive or silent about the most suspect of stances taken by the BCCI.

Of course, the man himself has made recent comments which can be construed as voicing his opinion against the Board. It can definitely be argued, at least academically, that his contract as a commentator involves ties that are financial in nature but do not creep up to harness the words he speaks.

Yes, he has been severely critical of the Indian team in recent times. Yet, most of his comments have been directed at the entire side. The only targeted name that has borne the brunt of his criticism has been that of Duncan Fletcher. It can be that Gavaskar’s reservations about foreign coaches perhaps both predate and override the dotted lines binding him to the BCCI.

But this slight snag aside, it is indeed the greatest of honours — to be deemed by the highest court of the country as the one man among billions who can lead the operation of cleansing Indian cricket from this quagmire of corruption.

Irrespective of the public perception about the synergies between Gavaskar and the BCCI, the court is prepared to place the fullest trust in him.

“When the Supreme Court asks you, there is no question about it, there is not much you can do and I will be happy to do what they ask me to do,” Gavaskar has remarked. That indicates he will indeed take up the role unless something drastically changes the equations on the morrow.

And at the same time, he has continued to shoulder arms expertly when queries about Srinivasan have been posed: “Look, I think we need to understand that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. I would not be able to pass judgement on that. It is not my area. It is a completely different issue on which I have zero experience,” he commented on NDTV.

Whatever be it, if and when Gavaskar takes strike to open another critical innings, millions of intent eyes will be following the action with the keenest of interest.

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

India tour of England 2014

Aug 15, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at London

More

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014  at Southampton

England won by 266 runs

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Highlights of Phil Hughes' double ton

5 things you need to know about Graham Thorpe

India vs England 2014, 4th Test at Old Trafford: Ajinkya Rahane needs to play decisive role

10 little-known facts about Sir Frank Worrell

Statistical analysis of Jacques Kallis’s ODI career

Ajinkya Rahane England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Jacques Kallis Jacques Kallis retirement James Anderson Moeen Ali South Africa

James Anderson all set to close in on Ian Botham’s record after being given clean chit in ‘Pushgate’ incident

James Anderson, Ravindra Jadeja not found guilty by Judical Commissioner

James Anderson pleads guilty of pushing Ravindra Jadeja; says no malice intended

Ravindra Jadeja playing ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin in India’s tour of England a disaster, says Erapalli Prassana

Nasser Hussain praises Alastair Cook after victory in 3rd Test against India at Southampton

India A vs Australia A 2014, Final: Last chance for future stars to shine

Gary Ballance — the headline writer’s dream and the correspondent’s nightmare

An open letter to Pankaj Singh

India vs England 2014, 4th Test at Old Trafford: Should Umesh Yadav be sent as cover for Ishant Sharma?

5 things you need to know about Graham Thorpe

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

658 Posts | 6 Fans

Sachin Tendulkar's nine dismissals against James Anderson

Delhi shoppers more e-commerce savvy: Survey

Indian paddlers Sharath Kamal/Anthony Arputharaj get silver in the Men’s Doubles at CWG 2014

Gary Ballance — the headline writer’s dream and the correspondent’s nightmare

Prevent Diabetes Tip – get regular health check-ups

Ebola-hit African states seal off outbreak epicentre

Shah Rukh Khan: I want to continue working as long as I live

UP govt for expansion of e-governance: Akhilesh

Google most attractive employer among Asia-Pacific graduates

Rafael to miss rest of Man Utd’s tour of the USA with groin injury

Shah Rukh Khan: I am bored of answering questions about Salman Khan and me

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here