Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)
Playing multiple roles, Shastri always happy to be his masters’ voice
NEW DELHI: To start with, Ravi Shastri is a strange choice as a member of the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Governing Council. The former India skipper had a contract with the national cricket board to do TV commentary, where he was expected to sing paens about former president, N Srinivasan. And then, he already holds the paid position of national team director.
Supreme Court had elaborated on the conflict of interest, but the BCCI administrators hardly seem to bother, retaining a man dubbed the cheerleader for those in power in the board in the GC.
Thus it should come as no surprise that he reportedly advised that the BCCI should hand over the two suspended teams, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, to Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Rahul Dravid respectively during Sunday’s GC. The Supreme Court-appointed Justice Mukul Mudgal committee had found two key officials of the teams guilty of misconduct, which were further emphasised by the Justice RM Lodha panel while banned the duo --- CSK’s Gurunath Meiyappan and RR’s co-owner Raj Kundra.
POOR ADVICE If the GC had heeded Shastri’s advice, the Board would have flouted the Lodha committee order, which had suspended both the teams, making it clear they can only be terminated and not kept afloat for the next two years.
Shastri, who gets ` 1.65 lakh per day from BCCI, always manages to stay in the BCCI’s corridors of power, no matter who is at the helm. Former Mumbai batsman, Shishir Hattangadi, who has played cricket with Shastri from his schooldays, says: “He strikes a right chord with people who sit in the BCCI administration. As a cricketer also, he earned respect. He seems to understand the BCCI administration and its functioning probably better than a lot of other cricketers. The administrators also understand him well, which is very important. All these factors make him the go-to man for the set-up.”
Shastri once described banned former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi as the ‘Moses of world cricket’, for creating the big T20 brand.
In May 2013 when the IPL spotfixing scandal broke, Shastri wrote in his newspaper column: “I insist with a hand on my heart that this edition has been brilliant. The quality of cricket has been top-class. Enough preventive measures have been put in place.”
Delivering the Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture in Mumbai five months after the IPL scandal broke, Shastri termed Srinivasan ‘a terrific administrator’. It was when former cricket administrators and cricketers as well as the media were calling for Srinivasan’s head.
Shastri said: “Srinivasan is a genuine cricket and sports lover who contributed to the game immensely. I have been asked in recent times if the president of the BCCI should resign because of what’s happening. If I were BCCI president, or captain of the India team, or a political leader with a series of like episodes, (there is) no way I will quit.”