Srinivasan's efforts to improve the lot of sportspersons praised
The efforts taken by former Board of Control for Cricket in India president Narayanaswami Srinivasan to usher in changes to improve the lot of sportspersons, especially cricketers, came in for praise from present and past Indian cricket players, in Chennai, on Friday.
The country's World Cup-winning captains Kapil Dev and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and legends, including Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid, lavished praise on Srinivasan, vice-chairman and Managing Director of India Cements for bringing in reforms as an administrator and introduction of a scheme to benefit retired cricketers.
They were speaking at a function to mark the release of 'Defying the Paradigm,' a coffee table book on Srinivasan's 50-year journey with India Cements.
The book was released by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami and the first copy was received by Dhoni.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also sent a congratulatory message to Srinivasan and India Cements for its wonderful journey over the last 70 years.
Most speakers highlighted Srinivasan's endeavour to promote the game of cricket and encourage new talent.
Palaniswami said it was an honour to be a part of the momentous occasion.
Gavaskar said, "What an honour this is. I never played cricket as a professional because cricket wasn't a profession ack then. But it now is, thanks to the thriving efforts of Srinivasan and other board members. In cricket his contribution is unmatchable. He spoke about the one-time benefit for former players, the pension scheme not just for former players, but also for widows of former players."
"This doesn't happen in any other sport,"Gavaskar added.
Kapil Dev hailed Srinivasan's role as an administrator and said today everyone wants salaries like Indian cricketers.
"I met him 20 years back. We never had a person like him who could administer us when we were playing cricket. When we started playing, we wished we could have salaries like the Australian or English players. But today everyone wants salary like Indian players. Nobody looks after sportspeople like Srinivasan has selflessly," he added.
Dhoni said he had learnt a lot from Srinivasan and added he was fortunate to have spent a lot of time with him.
"I got to learn a lot out of him as I have been a part of CSK for the longest time. I never knew I would be selected for CSK. It became a very perfect mix like rum and coke. Either you love him or hate him, but you cannot ignore him. Fortunate to have been able to spend a lot of time with him," he added.
Former India captain Rahul Dravid, who is also a part of the India Cements family, said Srinivasan was someone who had a lot of passion for the game and also cared for the players.
Also present were Chandu Borde, G R Vishwanath, Dilip Vengsarkar, K Srikkanth, Anil Kumble, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, V V S Laxman, Ajay Jadeja, Syed Kirmani, Javagal Srinath and Dinesh Karthik.
The Chennai Super Kings players and BCCI officials were also present.
Rupa Gurunath, daughter of Srinivasan and whole-time director of India Cements also spoke.