news Friday, July 17, 2015 - 05:30
  Narayanaswami Srinivasan is at the forefront of the storm surrounding the ongoing IPL controversy, but he is still standing strong, brazening it out. As a nation of cricketing fans stand amazed at how N Srinivasan could move on without a scratch, for those who have observed him over the years, this was expected. N Srinivasan never takes a step back, and forces ahead with full steam when his way is blocked. On the side-lines of the suspension of probably the most storied teams in the IPL, the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals, many have begun calling the Supreme Court’s verdict the “final nail in the coffin” for N Srinivasan. It has been reported that the decision could leave him unable to continue in his position as ICC Chairman, in the blink of an eye. Many argue that the two teams would not be staring at extinction if Srinivasan had handled the IPL controversy on an impartial basis when they first surfaced. What could have been dealt with in a different matter was only made worse. Srinivasan’s refusal to step down as BCCI chairman was considered to be a case of conflict of interest by the highest court in the land, the SC found it “nauseating” that Srinivasan continued to hold office refusing to step down as the board's president. “Brazen”, “stubborn”, “arrogant”, “tainted” are just some of the words used often to describe a man who has controlled Indian cricket for years. Srinivasan has created an image of being brazen in his dealing with media, defying ethics having supported with technical rightfulness. "I don’t want to speak on this issue. I am not associated with CSK. It has nothing to do with me, why should I step down?" he asked the media when CSK and RR were suspended this week. "I have done nothing wrong,” he said in 2013 after the arrest of Gurunath Meiyappan, his son-in-law, over betting allegations. But for a man who has a widely-accepted reputation of being arrogant, N Srinivasan, is known to share a close rapport with certain journalists. At every quarterly results announcement of N Srinivasan-owned company India Cements, a screened list of journalists are allowed for a special interaction with the man himself. And everything under the sun gets discussed with Srinivasan opening up on myriad topics, says a senior journalist who spoke to The News Minute. “He discusses Dhoni, issues involving him and almost everything else under the sun. He is very cordial to the journalists and discusses everything,” says the journalist. However, not a word of what he says is uttered or reported on, even off the record. It is only the ones who honour the Omerta code who are allowed to meet him the next time. There are many in the media who are exasperated with N Srinivasan’s secrecy,  but Srinivasan himself believes, says a journalist,  that his silence is a South Indian trait, that businessmen here tend to maintain a distance from the media unlike their Mumbai counterparts. For a long time now, Srinivasan has remained at the receiving end of media’s crusade. In 2013, amidst extreme pressure for him to step down in the wake of Meiyappan’s arrest, he addressed the issue. Dragged into and named in everything concerning the BCCI and IPL, Srinivasan told Cricinfo, “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. “ “The unfair attack has been relentless. TV news channels have been carrying unverifiable reports devoid of truth” he lamented elsewhere.  A person is innocent until proven guilty, he said accusing the media of overstepping themselves and “cautioned them against a media trial”. However, in most of the issues taken up involving N Srinivasan, most times, only one side of the story gets out in the open.  Srinivasan has remained defiant, steadfast and tight-lipped over myriad allegations over the years. “I think anybody in media would agree that I am a private person. I don't have a favourite journalist to whom I give information, or to whom I give a scoop. If I speak, I speak in front of all. This is all that I have done, and I have administered the game,” said Srinivasan in the same Cricinfo interview. Some journalists say that he is known to be finicky about media presence, and he has maintained the media at a comfortable distance for a long time. Another journalist told TNM on conditions of anonymity, “He rarely speaks to anyone when they call. There was a point when media was not allowed inside Chepauk and the TNCA buildings,” he said. The stakes are high and a lot of money is involved. Even cricketers when asked about Srinivasan clam-up, he says, adding that Srinivasan despised negative reportage about him. “In his attempt to stay silent and protect those who are important to him, he could very well be buried in the very same muddle that he is trying to protect,” says a journalist, who adds that “He needs to come out and address these issues.”