Cricket: Dalmiya to return as India boss

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Veteran official Jagmohan Dalmiya is set to be elected head of Indian cricket's governing body, replacing the sport's world supremo Narayanaswami Srinivasan following a corruption scandal, reports said on Sunday.

Dalmiya, a former head of the International Cricket Council, emerged as the front-runner amid backroom negotiations for votes at elections on Monday for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Dalmiya, 74, was the "consensus candidate" among rival factions for BCCI president, a position he held a decade ago, according to the Press Trust of India news agency, citing unnamed sources.

The Supreme Court barred Srinivasan from standing as a candidate for BCCI chief, although he can cast his vote, following its probe into a betting and fixing scandal surrounding the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The court in January found Srinivasan guilty of a conflict of interest for having commercial dealings in the sport by owning an IPL franchise while he was also BCCI head.

Srinivasan is the current International Cricket Council (ICC) chief.

Dalmiya, who served as ICC president for three years from 1997 to 2000, has been acting as interim BCCI president during the court's investigation.

Dalmiya was ousted by rivals as BCCI chief in 2005 after a more than decade-long reign over the powerful and faction-ridden board.

The 74-year-old, who hails from Kolkata, is credited with helping to turn the game into a lucrative global sport. He twice brought the World Cup to the Indian sub-continent, in 1987 and 1996.

A BCCI spokesman declined to comment on the media reports, while Dalmiya himself could not be contacted.

The BCCI elections are fiercely contested in India, where cricket is the dominant sport among the 1.2-billion strong population.

International news organisations, including Agence France-Presse, have suspended their on-field coverage of matches hosted by the BCCI after the board imposed restrictions on picture agencies.