Celebrations to be held in memory of Indian cricket pioneer Sriraman

2017 is the centenary year of the celebrated cricket administrator S. Sriraman. His family members, along with the support of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, are planning a grand centennial celebrations.

S. Sriraman was TNCA secretary from 1954 to 1985, and president of the BCCI from 1985 to 1988.   -  The Hindu Archives

2017 is the centenary year of the celebrated cricket administrator S. Sriraman, the pioneer who toiled to bring money to the game in India.

Sriraman, who served as secretary of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA), one of the best-run cricket units in the country, from 1954 to 1985, was the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president from 1985 to 1988. It was during his tenure that India hosted the Reliance World Cup, the first to be held outside England.

As Board president, Sriraman was instrumental in winning television rights after a long battle with the Government. He had swung the fight in the Board’s favour by highlighting its efforts to develop infrastructure and popularising the game by conducting various tournaments. Importantly, he brought it to the notice of the people that it was done without any financial assistance from the Government.

Sriraman won the television rights on September 7, 1987 with the Board earning approximately Rs. 30 crore per series. Gradually the Board’s revenue earnings from the game rose to Rs. 500 crore and later double that amount. The foundation of the Board’s fabulous rise as a self-reliant and rich sports body was laid by this unsung cricket administrator from Chennai.

True to his devotion to the game, as his son Keshav Sriraman pointed out, he gave “personal guarantee for the loan acquired for the renovation of the Chepauk Stadium.”

Sriraman not only turned down a proposal for the stadium to be named after him but also refused the offer of naming the pavilion after him. For his splendid work as a cricket administrator, Sriraman was made an honorary member of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in 1972.

Respect from players

Former stars like Bishan Singh Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar and Imran Khan have acknowledged Sriraman’s brilliance as a cricket administrator. “This is a perfect example of how a Test should be organised,” Imran had remarked after the match in 1979-80.

The family members, along with the support of the TNCA, are planning a grand centennial celebrations. “We propose to invite former players (in November) for the celebrations. It will be nice if the Board institutes an award in his memory. He did so much for cricket in India,” pleaded Keshav.

An award for the ‘best administrator’ named after Sriraman may not be a bad idea.

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