Srinivasan: ‘CSK will be back with a bang in 2018’

Former BCCI president and ICC chairman N. Srinivasan revealed that the decision to buy Chennai Super Kings had prior approval from both the then IPL chairman Lalit Modi and BCCI president Sharad Pawar.

N. Srinivasan, addresses a gathering on ‘Playing Big : Building Brands from South India’, at an event in Chennai on Friday.   -  Bijoy Ghosh

Former BCCI president and ICC chairman N. Srinivasan revealed that the decision to buy Chennai Super Kings had prior approval from both the then IPL chairman Lalit Modi and BCCI president Sharad Pawar.

Srinivasan’s decision to buy the team raised conflict of interest issues since he was an office-bearer of the BCCI at that time.

Delivering the keynote address at the Madras Advertising Club’s annual awards function here on Friday, Srinivasan said, “We received an invitation from the then chairman of IPL (Lalit Modi) asking whether India Cements would bid. So I took this letter and wrote to the then BCCI president Mr (Sharad) Pawar asking if we can bid since I was the BCCI treasurer and MD and promoter of India Cements. Although everyone knew this story, they chose to ignore it.”

He added, “I get a reply back from Mr Pawar saying that 'I have consulted all my colleague and there is no bar on India Cements to take the tender and bid for an IPL team'. This was given in writing from him and following all due processes, the BCCI was asked and we went ahead.”

Srinivasan, who was speaking on the topic of brand building, explained the process of getting CSK together and heaped praise on M.S. Dhoni.

“Before the first auction, we told the group which was sitting there to get M.S. Dhoni at any price. People criticise it and made all kinds of allegations, but still its[CSK’s] followers have only grown. Wherever I go, thanks to the power of CSK, there is not a single place where people don’t want to come and take a selfie with me. How did we get there? The first truly game changing decision was to get M.S. Dhoni on board. He had won the World T20 in 2007, had his own style and was different from others.”

Further elaborating on the growth of the CSK brand, the 72-year-old industrialist said, “An aura developed around the team because of its performance and its captain who was growing in stature, winning with the national team. He adopted the city and vice-versa.”

“The Tamil anthem, the colour yellow, the ‘whistle podu’ song along with Dhoni helped build the CSK brand. We have not been part of the IPL for two years but it has not affected the brand one bit.”

In 2015, CSK was suspended for two years after one of the team official was involved in spot fixing-betting allegations that occurred during the 2013 IPL.

Srinivasan said the side was unfairly banned. “You can accuse anybody of anything but you can’t accuse a single player. They just played. It was just pure jealousy,” he lashed out.

With CSK’s two-year suspension ending later in the year, Srinivasan said he was looking forward to seeing “M.S. Dhoni, wearing yellow and leading the CSK team onto the ground.”

“Come 2018, there is every possibility of it happening. We will be back with a bang.”

SRINIVASAN CREDITS TNPL FOR TAMIL NADU'S SUCCESS

The Tamil Nadu team which won the Vijay Hazare and Deodhar Trophy came for huge praise from Srinivasan and the veteran cricket administrator specially credited the TNPL for the State team’s success.

“We started the TNPL since the people of the state missed out on T20 cricket after CSK’s suspension and the inaugural season was a huge success.”

 “We have players who did well in TNPL being picked up the IPL sides and now has helped TN win the two domestic one-day tournaments.” Srinivasan also recalled that a former Test cricketer recently credited the success of TN team to the TNPL because it has prepared the players to play fearless cricket.

“Deodhar trophy win is particularly special since TN played against India A and B teams that had players from all over India who are either part of the national side or on the fringes of the national team.”

 “It is the the first time a state team has won and this despite not having some of our top players. TNPL has done well as a brand but it has even done better for cricket in TN.”