Chennai: After a period of lull, N. Srinivasan is back in the spotlight. The former president of the Indian cricket board, who was forced to step down from the prestigious post following an ugly episode of betting allegations in the Indian Premier League, took centre stage on Thursday and didn’t not shy away from questions that often proved, not long ago, uncomfortable.
The boss of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association said Chennai Super Kings would come back to the Indian Premier League “without any external intervention.”
The Chennai franchise was once owned by India Cements in which Srinivasan is the managing director. CSK were later converted into a wholly-owned subsidiary as Chennai Super Kings Cricket Ltd in a bid to save the team. However, the supreme court slapped a two-year suspension on CSK.
“At the moment we don’t have an IPL team in Chennai. But one season has already gone. Just one more to go. CSK will be back automatically,” said Srinivasan as he announced the eight franchisee owners of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), a franchisee-based T20 tournament. For the “cricket-deprived” state, which will miss out on IPL action for one more season, TNPL comes as a soothing balm. “It’s a little lull. We all feel the absence of cricket because the Chennai team is not there. But time will fly, don’t worry. Chennai is a permanent Test centre and the city is synonymous with cricket. The TNPL is important for the state in a lot of aspects. We are in talks with the BCCI to allow other state cricketers to compete in our league. Hopefully, they will agree,” added Srinivasan.
Srinivasan strongly refuted accusations that the reputation of cricket in Chennai has taken a beating. “I don’t think there is any damage to it. All of you (present here), touch your hearts and say, what and why it happened?” said Srinivasan.
The TNPL has garnered overwhelming response with a total franchisee fee for the first season amounting to Rs 33.24 crore from eight teams. The likes of R. Ashwin, M. Vijay and Dinesh Karthik will be the star attractions in the inaugural season where the champions will be awarded Rs 1 crore. Star India has bagged the media rights for Rs 7.1 crore.
It’s no secret that Srinivasan and current Board president Anurag Thakur are not best of friends anymore. But the TN strongman said young Anurag would be a successful president. “I think Anurag Thakur is very experienced. He is capable. I have already sent him a message wishing him best,” Srinivasan added....