New Delhi: It is D-day for Indian cricket as the deadline for the Board of Control for Cricket in India to respond to the Supreme Court's blueprint for cleaning up cricket administration after the IPL mess ends on Friday. The apex court is set to pass an interim order on whether N Srinivasan should step aside as BCCI chief and Sunil Gavaskar should replace him and whether Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings should be suspended from IPL 7.
The Supreme Court stepped right into the IPL spot-fixing and betting case on Thursday and made some very strong recommendations to the BCCI, giving it a 24-hour deadline to respond. After the court's scathing observations earlier this week, N Srinivasan has offered to step aside as BCCI chief until the probe is over.
The bench headed by Justice AK Patnaik proposed to bar the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals from IPL 2014, stating there are serious allegations against both franchises, with the betting and spot-fixing cases still pending. The bench then literally broke N Srinivasan's iron grip on the BCCI proposing former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar to head the BCCI in the interim in place of Srinivasan who would have nothing to do wit the workings of the board pending inquiry. And in another body blow to Srinivasan, the bench proposed all employees of India Cements will have to be kept out of the board.
This was a stunning blow to the Chennai strongman who through his legal counsel had earlier offered to step aside himself, pending investigation. To make matters worse, Cricket Association of Bihar, the petitioner, went on the offensive with allegations against Srinivasan and BCCI and followed it up by dragging Indian captain MS Dhoni into it.
Senior counsel Harish Salve targeted Srinivasan stating he wore multiple hats in his functional roles as BCCI President and CSK owner. Salve then upped the ante, stating Dhoni had denied any knowledge of Gurunath Meiyappan's role in CSK, implying the Indian cricket captain has been indulging in corrupt conduct.
Meanwhile, Sunil Gavaskar hinted that he is ready to take over the responsibility of the BCCI chief. "If that is what the honourable court decides then yes, certainly that will be a huge honour for me," he said.
While both Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals will argue in Court on Friday to save themselves from being barred this season, the BCCI will join in to plead the Court to spare the IPL from such seismic changes. All eyes though will be on the two-justice bench as the interim order is expected on Friday.