Controversial Indian cricket administrator and industrialist Narayanaswami Srinivasan has been confirmed as the new head of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Mr Srinivasan’s appointment comes despite the Indian Supreme Court suspending him from his previous position as chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) following allegations of corruption in the Indian Premier League.
However, he was not barred from taking up positions elsewhere and was confirmed as ICC Chairman at the Council’s annual conference in Melbourne on Thursday.
Mr Srinivasan described it as an “honour”.
Tamil Nadu-born Mr Srinivasan is the Managing Director of industrial giant India Cements and has long been involved in sports administration, including with the Indian Olympic Association and the World Squash Federation.
He is most noted for his role in the lucrative Indian Premier League.
India Cements is the owner behind the Chennai Super Kings franchise led by national team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Rather than being a mere team owner, Mr Srinivasan’s ambitions lay with controlling the BCCI, the richest and most influential cricket board in the world: ambitions that were facilitated by the BCCI’s decision to amend its constitution in 2008 which in turn paved the way for board officials to have commercial interests in matches or events organized by the BCCI.
The 69-year-old Mr Srinivasan is among 13 people currently under investigation by a Supreme Court-appointed panel looking into match-fixing and other irregularities within the IPL, one of the world’s most high-profile and lucrative sporting events.
Mr Srinivasan’s appointment had been opposed by, among others, the Federation of International Cricketers Associations on ethical grounds.
However, he has continued to receive the backing of Cricket Australia (CA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), part of a triumvirate of cricket bodies – along with the BCCI – that cricket commentators describe as a “private club” whose aims will be to maximize commercial returns from cricket rather than expand the game to new countries and territories.