MELBOURNE: Indian powerbroker N. Srinivasan’s appointment as the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) inaugural chairman came under fire from Australian media Friday over allegations of corruption as cricket officials insisted no wrongdoing had been proved. Srinivasan was anointed despite being suspended by India’s Supreme Court as his country’s top cricket official after being named in a damning report into corruption allegations in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The Age newspaper said the sport had made a fool of itself. “Even if, as Srinivasan says, he is proven to have done nothing wrong, the fact that other members of the ICC endorsed him for the chairmanship hardly inspires confidence in their collective desire to stamp out corruption from the sport,” its cricket writer Chloe Saltau said. “Srinivasan’s very presence at the Melbourne conference as the ICC’s newly inaugurated chairman was a fresh attack on cricket’s credibility.”
The Australian broadsheet said there was little member nations could do to stop him taking charge of the ICC at its annual conference this week. “While member nations were uncomfortable with Srinivasan taking over the world game while battling corruption allegations at home, they received legal advice there was nothing to stop him and no country was willing to risk the Indian powerbroker’s wrath,” the newspaper’s Peter Lalor wrote.
He said Srinivasan, Cricket Australia (CA) chairmen Wally Edwards and English cricket chief Giles Clarke met during the Perth Test between Australia and England this year “to sign off details of a coup in which the three grabbed control of the ICC through the chairmanship and a new executive committee which they dominate”. “As part of the move, a former equal distribution of cricket revenue was changed to give India the greatest share. England and Australia also benefited financially,” he said. Under the ICC’s new structure, an ICC executive committee has been formed chaired by Edwards, with Clarke heading up the finance and commercial affairs arm.
Newspapers also queried Srinivasan’s assertion on Thursday that India had not threatened to walk out of the ICC unless it received a greater share of the global game’s revenues. “Australia and England have said, privately and publicly, that they had to appease India to stop them from breaking away and taking their lucrative tours with them,” The Age said. “Srinivasan baldly denied that India had dreamt of such a power play, placing him in direct contradiction with Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards, who was in the room at his press conference, and one of his own colleagues.”
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