REUTERS - India’s N. Srinivasan was confirmed as chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Melbourne on Thursday, giving the 69-year-old industrialist the most powerful role in the governing body’s restructured organisation.
Srinivasan, who emerged as the leading candidate to become ICC chairman in February, will assume office almost immediately after the governing body rubber-stamped constitutional changes at its annual conference being held this week in Australia.
“It is an honour to be confirmed as the Chairman of the International Cricket Council,” Srinivasan said in a statement after the 52-member full council approved amendments which, to many observers, give India, England and Australia virtual control of the sport.
Often described as the most powerful man in cricket, Srinivasan became the Board Of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI) president in 2011 but was ordered to step aside in March to ensure a fair investigation into an illegal betting scandal during last year’s Indian Premier League involving his son-in-law.
The Chennai-native was also accused of having a conflict of interest due to his India Cements company owning a franchise in the lucrative Twenty20 league.
Those controversies have led to some criticism of his appointment with one official of a now unrecognised unit within the Indian cricket board urging the country’s Supreme Court to bar Srinivasan from taking over as ICC chief.
“I believe that some of the criticism is unfair to me and it’s not well-founded,” Srinivasan told reporters. “One must judge me by results.
“It’s the first day. I have just been elected. One has to wait and see as to what is the effect I have on the ICC before you make that call.”
Srinivasan added that he had voluntarily stepped aside from the top BCCI post.
“I have not done anything wrong for which I should feel hesitant to take this position,” he added.
Once he assumes the new role at the end of the conference, Srinivasan’s priority will be to expand the global reach of a sport that only has 10 teams playing at test level.
“I will leave no stone unturned in trying to strengthen the pillars and foundations of our sport, both on and off the field,” he said.
“I want to ensure that cricket retains and grows its popularity, and that the ICC plays a leading role in this global growth.
“I want to see more strong teams in international cricket. For this to be achieved, we all need to work hard to develop local talent in our countries. Naturally, there will be more support to those who first show they can help themselves,” Srinivasan added.
The ICC also announced other administrative changes with Mustafa Kamal of Bangladesh elected as its new president, now a titular post, while a new executive committee headed by Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards was also formed.
England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke will continue to head the ICC’s Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee in a new structure that will see the “Big Three” boards pocketing the greater share of ICC revenue.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty; Editing by John O'Brien