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Media has tarnished my image - N Srinivasan

BCCI head N Srinivasan pictured during a press conference earlier this year

BCCI head N Srinivasan pictured during a press conference earlier this year

BCCI chief N Srinivasan has hit out against the media and stated that they ruined his image ever since the IPL spot-fixing issue was uncovered. Srinivasan has labeled himself as a “very honest” man, who was “unfairly attacked”, a claim that may come to haunt him later.

The newly re-elected BCCI president has stated that the media made him a scapegoat.

“I am honest, very honest. And, I think my character has been seen in the last few months,”  Srinivasan was quoted as saying in an interview with ESPNcricinfo.

The 68-year-old found himself in the middle of the storm after his son-in law Gurunath Meiyappan, who owns a stake in IPL team Chennai Superkings, was found guilty of betting on games by the Mumbai police. Meyappan also earned himself a place on the chargesheet filed by the Mumbai police.

When asked how he felt when the Supreme Court gave him permission to continue his role as head of the board, Srinivasan said:  “I was pleased. People who have known me for a long time will believe what I say. In the sense that I am a person who has always focused on what to do next.”

“I don’t carry any grudges, I don’t have any such feelings at all. That’s how I am. People who have known me for years will attest to it. I will just move on. This happened, okay, fine, I dealt with it, I am glad, I am back, I go on,” he added.

Srinivasan confessed that he remained unfazed by the general public’s opinion of him.

“See, I can’t do anything about that (public opinion). It doesn’t affect me. It doesn’t affect me because when I am not in the BCCI I will not merit one line in any newspaper, so why must I worry about the 20 lines now?” he asked.

The India Cements managing director stated that he did not poke his nose in the investigation ordered by the BCCI, which was deemed as illegal by the High court, to find out the truth about the biggest scandal Indian cricket has witnessed in recent times.

In spite of being blamed for the downfall, Srinivasan said that he did not lose any sleep and invested time in playing golf.

“Since I had stepped aside from cricket, I was able to play golf. Administering the BCCI and running my own business takes a lot of time. So my spare time got eaten into. So the truth is, during this period I could afford to try to get my swing back again,” he said.

“I won’t call it tough or difficult. I felt I had been unfairly attacked. It was a continuous attack on me. As I said somewhere, one particular paper had about 90 pieces written about me, 11-12 editorials, and I was occupying the entire front page for 10-11 days. This has never happened in independent India. Am I worth that much of coverage? I am not that big a businessman. BCCI is not that big,” he added.

“I had not done anything wrong, and then I stepped aside. And then the BCCI working committee, at a meeting which I did not attend because I had stepped aside, appointed this probe commission. Somehow it got represented as if I (appointed it). I did not…So how am I to be blamed for that?” he asked.

Srinivasan stated that he had no hard feelings towards the individuals who turned against him during the trying period.

“I am not an autocrat. I don’t want to get into debates. I have a job to do, and I will do my job. I realise this is not a permanent job. This is not my bread and butter, it’s an honorary job,” he said.

The BCCI chief was asked why the tour of South Africa was taking so long to be confirmed.

“One of the reasons was we felt that we should be (playing) more international cricket in India during our season, and there should be a balance between inbound and outbound tours. And we felt that this year we had very little international cricket (in India), and therefore we needed to supplement it, so we invited the West Indies. This was the thought process,” he explained.

“If you look at our calendar, we’ll be hosting Australia, then the West Indies, then we are supposed to go to South Africa, then New Zealand, come back and play Asia Cup, play the World Twenty20, come for IPL, go to England. It was a very long, tough programme, so we also wanted to lessen the strain if possible”, Srinivasan said.

“Unfortunately there was a lot of media speculation on whether the tour is on etc, and on news emanating from South Africa. We did not make any comment. We did not say anything about this. In fact, until now we have said nothing,” he said.

Srinivasan was asked if he had a hand in Haroon Lorgat being appointed as CEO of Cricket South Africa, he replied:  “We are not anyone to say who should or should not be the chief executive of another board. But there are some challenges.”

“Maybe after discussions I might talk about it. I should not prejudice the discussions by talking about it now. So talk to me in a few days’ time. I don’t want to discuss it now,” he added.

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