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N Srinivasan’s appointment as ICC chairman under fire from Australian media

N Srinivasan has taken over as ICC Chairman © Getty Images
N Srinivasan has taken over as ICC Chairman © Getty Images

By Robert Smith

Melbourne: Jun 27, 2014

Indian powerbroker N Srinivasan‘s appointment as the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) inaugural chairman came under fire from Australian media Friday over allegations of corruption as cricket officials insisted no wrongdoing had been proved. Srinivasan was anointed despite being suspended by India’s Supreme Court as his country’s top cricket official after being named in a damning report into corruption allegations in the Indian Premier League.

The Age newspaper said the sport had made a fool of itself. “Even if, as Srinivasan says, he is proven to have done nothing wrong, the fact that other members of the ICC endorsed him for the chairmanship hardly inspires confidence in their collective desire to stamp out corruption from the sport,” its cricket writer Chloe Saltau said. “Srinivasan’s very presence at the Melbourne conference as the ICC’s newly inaugurated chairman was a fresh attack on cricket’s credibility.” The Australian broadsheet said there was little member nations could do to stop him taking charge of the International Cricket Council at its annual conference this week.

“While member nations were uncomfortable with Srinivasan taking over the world game while battling corruption allegations at home, they received legal advice there was nothing to stop him and no country was willing to risk the Indian powerbroker’s wrath,” the newspaper’s Peter Lalor wrote. He said Srinivasan, Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards and English cricket chief Giles Clarke met during the Perth Test between Australia and England this year “to sign off details of a coup in which the three grabbed control of the ICC through the chairmanship and a new executive committee which they dominate. As part of the move, a former equal distribution of cricket revenue was changed to give India the greatest share. England and Australia also benefited financially.”

Under the ICC’s new structure, an ICC executive committee has been formed chaired by Edwards, with Clarke heading up the finance and commercial affairs arm.

New Zealand Cricket director Martin Snedden said if a problem arose over the investigations into Srinivasan down the track then the ICC would deal with it then. “[They are] allegations that we know nothing about made by people that are highly incentivised to get rid Srinivasan,” he told New Zealand radio Friday.

“The [Indian Supreme] court has said that they’re untested and no inference is to be taken from the fact that they’ve asked for them to be investigated. But in three or four months time, that investigation will be complete, the results will be given to the court, they’ll be made public. If, at that point, there is a problem, then the ICC can deal with it then.”

Sneddon said while his election was a “huge about-turn”, overall it provided the international cricket community with more certainty. “Having India inside the camp is a huge about-turn from where it’s been throughout the time I’ve been involved in the ICC,” he said. “India’s been an outlier, they’ve caused all sorts of havoc and uncertainty from time to time and it’s made it extremely difficult for other countries — New Zealand’s been on the receiving end of that, so have a number of other countries.

“As a result of what these (big three) countries have done, yes, they’ve used their collective advantage in some ways, but at the same time, what they are doing is providing the overall international cricket community with a lot more certainty.”

Newspapers also queried Srinivasan’s assertion on Thursday that India had not threatened to walk out of the ICC unless it received a greater share of the global game’s revenues. “Australia and England have said, privately and publicly, that they had to appease India to stop them from breaking away and taking their lucrative tours with them,” The Age said. “Srinivasan baldly denied that India had dreamt of such a power play, placing him in direct contradiction with Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards, who was in the room at his press conference, and one of his own colleagues.”

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