Ahead of the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), former BCCI president and ICC Chairman N. Srinivasan revealed that he had decided to buy Chennai Super Kings as he was both the IPL chairman and Board president at that time.
In 2015, CSK was suspended for two years due to the corruption scandal that marred the 2013 edition.
During his stint at Madras Advertising Club’s annual awards function, 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. In the many controversies that surrounded CSK later, although everyone knew this story they chose to ignore it.”
He further added, “I get a reply from Mr. Pawar, saying that ‘I have consulted all my colleagues and there is no bar on India Cements taking the tender and bidding for an IPL team’. This was in writing and following all due processes, the BCCI was asked and we went ahead.”
Srinivasan also showered praises for M.S. Dhoni, he said, “Before the first auction, we told the group that was sitting there to get Dhoni at any price. Though people criticize CSK and make allegations, its followers have only grown. The proof is 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 Dhoni on board. He had won the World T20 in 2007 in his own style, and was different from the others.”
Talking about the growth of Brand CSK, the 72-year old said, “An aura developed around the team because of its performance and its captain who was growing in stature. He adopted the city and vice-versa.”
He further elaborated, “The Tamil anthem, the color 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 that has not affected the brand one bit.”
Srinivasan concluded by calling CSK’s ban ‘unfair, he said, “You can accuse anybody of anything but you can’t accuse a single player. They just played. It was just pure jealousy.”