sport

Srinivasan told to step aside

Under-fire Indian cricket supremo N Srinivasan has been told to step down from his duties with the ICC by the international players' union.

Srinivasan has been forced to temporarily stand down as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) following a Supreme Court order last month, and one of world cricket's most powerful men could now also have to cede more official authority.

The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) has called on the ICC to follow the court order and suspend Srinivasan's duties with it, given his alleged links with corruption in the IPL.

The 69-year-old is due to represent the BCCI at next week's ICC executive board meeting in Dubai.

It is expected that Srinivasan's mooted elevation to ICC chairman - as a part of the governing body's much-debated governance shake-up - would be discussed.

FICA executive chairman Paul Marsh believes, however, that it is "impossible" to consider such a prospect while Srinivasan, and his company India Cements, remains under investigation.

"While we are pleased that Mr Srinivasan, at the behest of the Supreme Court, has agreed to step down from his duties as BCCI president, we are of the firm belief that he should not be exercising any functions on behalf of the ICC either, while any investigations concerning his conduct or that of his company are pending or unresolved," he said.

"The cricket world has been told time and again by the ICC that corruption is the game's biggest issue and that the game has a zero-tolerance approach to it.

"For our game to survive we need it to be not only free of corruption but free of any suspicion of corruption.

"The ICC needs to put the reputation of the game and confidence in its procedures first. The players, and other stakeholders in the game, are entitled to expect this from the ICC's executive board.

"Under the current circumstances, the prospect of Mr Srinivasan taking the highest posting in world cricket while these matters are unresolved, is an impossible one."

The BCCI last week told the Indian Express that it was happy for Srinivasan to continue representing it at ICC meetings, despite the Supreme Court order.

That order demanded that no member of India Cements - for whom Srinivasan is vice-president and managing director - be involved in BCCI matters during the investigation. India Cements owns the Chennai Super Kings, one of two IPL franchises, along with the Rajasthan Royals, implicated in the spot-fixing probe.

Srinivasan's son-in law Gurunath Meiyappan is the alleged team principal of the Super Kings and is also at the centre of investigations.

In Srinivasan's BCCI absence, the former India batsman Sunil Gavaskar was appointed to take charge of this year's IPL, while vice-president Shivlal Yadav has taken over the remaining presidential duties.

The Indian Supreme Court is due for its next hearing on the case on April 16, when the BCCI is expected present its counter-arguments.