Season six of the Indian Premier League began on a hopeful note, but by the time it ended, the on-field happenings had lost all its relevance. So much had transpired out of the cricketing field in the days leading up to the conclusion of the tournament that question marks are bound to be raised over each and every game, including the final, and brand IPL as a whole. Former BCCI President Shashank Manohar said nothing exaggerated when he demanded that all the matches held this season be investigated into. This might well be the stand of numerous IPL fans, who followed the tournament with much admiration.
It is too early to say that IPL will die a natural death in the coming years. On the other hand, one can be assured that the BCCI will pull all strings to ensure that the event remains the prime T20 domestic league in the world. But, doing this won’t be all that easy considering all that has happened this season – a lot of revelations are still in store. The toughest part for the IPL organisers would be to win back the trust of the fans as well as the sponsors. And for that to happen, they need to demonstrate that they are willing to take genuine steps towards rooting out corruption from the league. So far, that isn’t happening.
The booing of N. Srinivasan by the Eden Gardens crowd during the final presentation clearly exhibited the mood of the country towards BCCI’s big boss. His unwillingness to step down in spite of his son-in-law allegedly being a party to betting activities indicates that he is more bothered about power than the good of the game. Can we have a strong, ethical cricketing body in such a scenario? Difficult. The men who run Chennai Super Kings have also adopted an escapist attitude towards the problem that hit them in the face. It is no secret that Gurunath Meiyappan was Chennai’s Team Principal and not just an honorary member. Such moves make one wonder whether the people running the event are seriously interested in protecting the sanctity of the game.
IPL organisers’ reactive attitude as opposed to a proactive approach has been most disappointing. Remember, there was a sting last year as well, following which a few unknown players were handed bans of various tenures for their alliances with bookies. What did the men in charge do to ensure that such an occurrence does not repeat itself in the following season? Your guess is only as good as mine. One can only wonder how bookies get access to players so easily. Also, what has the IPL organising committee done to scuttle the threat. Again, no idea.
A few smart men have come out with the excuse that no one can do anything when the players get greedy. But, are only the players at fault? No. The make-up of the IPL itself is such that it encourages players to get greedy. Hefty pay packages, after-match parties featuring models in skimpy outfits, gyrating cheer girls, all these lead players towards the hip lifestyle. And once they get a taste of the same, it is difficult to come back. This is where the likes of Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan faltered. Mind you, their sins should not be left unpunished. But, then again, they aren’t the real culprits.
--By A Cricket Analyst