Sriraman, a pioneer in cricket administration

Several former players and members of the BCCI and TNCA reminisced the contributions made by Sriraman to the sport and the board, during his Birth Centenary celebrations here.

N. Ram, Chairman of The Hindu Group of Publications releasing a book on the late S. Sriraman, former president of the BCCI, during his birth centenary celebrations on Thursday. From left: Ranbir Singh Mahendra, former president, BCCI, former cricketer S. Venkataraghavan and Keshav Sriraman, organising secretary are in the picture.   -  R. Ragu

In a novel move, the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association on Thursday decided to request the Board of Control for Cricket in India to conduct a tournament and also to institute an annual award in the name of late S. Sriraman, former President of the BCCI during his Birth Centenary celebrations here.

Several former players and members of the BCCI and TNCA reminisced the contributions made by Sriraman to the sport and the board.

N. Ram, Chairman of The Hindu Group of Publications, said, without exaggeration Sriraman was one of the pioneers of a good and clean cricket administration. “He built a strong team of administrators through volunteers too and empowered them based on his good judgement. He was a man of steel inside, who did not tolerate foolish decisions. He was always willing to think big and by no means his contribution to cricket was a minor one. He, along with M. A. Chidambaram, was the epitome of honesty and transparency in cricket administration. He was always accessible and gentle to people who approached him,” he added.

Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar, in a video message, said Sriraman was one of the finest administrators the game had ever seen. “He was a selfless administrator who nurtured, promoted and helped the game grow with a good team. I am honoured to be a part of celebrating the life of a terrific person,” he said.

Explosive opener K. Srikkanth said the seeds of the fruits of what the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association is bearing, were sown by Sriraman. “It is beyond any doubt that the TNCA is the best association under the BCCI and it was possible due to the untiring efforts of Sriraman.”

Talking about his association with the eminent administrator, Srikkanth said Sriraman was one of the people who shaped his career by encouraging him in his formative years. “What I am today is also because of Sriraman. He was one who would encourage any cricketer to grow in the game. He was a respected, unassuming, simple person who had no air about him,” he noted.

Bishan Singh Bedi, in a message through Srikkanth, concurred with the opener’s views. “He was undoubtedly the finest servant of the game by a mile. His humility was a lesson we could learn, on and off the field. His dedication to cricket and cricketers was unmatched,” he added.

Former President of the BCCI, Ranbir Singh Mahendra, who was the board’s secretary during Sriraman’s tenure, said conducting the World Cup in 1987 was a turning point in Indian cricket history. “Besides being an able administrator, he was a guiding force for everyone associated with the game. He was a disciplinarian and one of the boldest presidents the board had seen,” he said.

Spin stalwart S. Venkataraghavan said it was only due to Sriraman he got to represent the country. “On a personal front, he is a friend, philosopher and guide. He included my name in the selection list and I was drafted to play the unofficial Test against Sri Lanka which paved my entry on to the big stage. He was a role model for all the other State associations too,” he added.

The celebrations concluded when N. Ram, along with the dignitaries, released a book on the administrator.