Body blow to IPL

Body blow to IPL

The fate of Indian Premier League’s seventh season, scheduled to be played in UAE from April 16 to 30, will be decided when the Indian Supreme Court will give its interim order on IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal on Friday.

The court on Thursday pro-posed that former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar be appointed as in-terim chief of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in place of N Srinivasan till it gives its final verdict in the case.

It also proposed that Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, two IPL teams facing betting charges, should be barred from the seventh edition of the lucrative twenty20 tournament .

With the likelihood of two major teams missing the seventh edition, it remains to be seen whether the IPL will go ahead with its plans of holding its first phase, featuring 20 matches, in the UAE. “We are not removing anyone now, but Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals will not be allowed to participate in the IPL which commences on April 16,” Justice AK Patnaik said at a hearing.

Harish Salve, counsel of the petitioner, said Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was guilty of corrupt conduct and gave false statement to the commission. Salve also said: “Dhoni is an employee of India Cements and that leads to a conflict of interest.” The court will listen to BCCI’s reply on Friday and then pass the orders. The other arguments in the case will be heard on April 16.

Meanwhile, the BCCI had postponed the press conference to launch IPL 7, which was scheduled to take place at Abu Dhabi on Thursday. “Media are advised that in light of the recent proceedings of the Supreme Court in India, the media conference that was scheduled to take place today at 2pm in Abu Dhabi has been postponed. Media will be advised of its future date.” BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement.

Gavaskar ‘honoured’

Gavaskar said that he would be “honoured” and “happy” to adhere to the directives of the highest court of the land.

“First and foremost, if the highest court suggests something, you have to do so but that has to be on record. I am currently contracted with BCCI as a commentator. But if Supreme Court wants me to do that, I will do it,” Gavaskar said. “When the Supreme Court asks you, there is no question about it, there is not much you can do and I will be happy to do what they ask me to do”, he told a TV channel.

The former Indian Test opener said he would wait for the final order from the court. When asked whether the IPL 7 should be scrapped, the little master said: “In situation like this, you will have different opinions. You will have to sit down and think about it. I don’t know how will it help. When fixing scandal broke out 14 years ago, cricket continued.”

“We need to put measures in place. There should be Anti-corruption officials available for every team in IPL, so that young players will know where to approach.” While talking about the suspension of Chennai and Rajasthan, he said: “It is sad. They were the champions. In 2008, Rajasthan Royals were the champions and Chennai Super Kings won three times, they have brought a lot of joy, so this observation will make cricket fans sad,” Gavaskar said.

Gag order

The court’s stern observations on the IPL fiasco appears to have rattled the BCCI bigwigs as India’s media manager Dr RN Baba issued a gag order on the media in Dhaka, stating that questions will be entertained “only on ICC World Twenty20”.

Dhoni, who as skipper of Chennai Super Kings and a vice-president of India Cements has direct connection with the fiasco, was conspicuous by his absence from the mandatory media conference.

Dr Baba later clarified that Dhoni “will from now on be available if India loses any match or else the man of the match will be coming to attend the customary press meets.” While reacting to the events on Thursday, former BCCI president IS Bindra said: “I fully agree with the apex court’s observation that till Srinivasan is not removed, the real truth of match-fixing saga will not be revealed and the main culprits will not be brought to justice.”

“Most importantly, the image of cricket will not improve. The longer he takes to vacate the chair, the longer it will take to regain confidence of fans and stakeholders. I appeal to all right-thinking BCCI officials to stand and be counted.”

“IPL needs an urgent cleansing process. It requires a concerted effort from top to bottom. But it seems that there is just no will to cleanse the sport or improve the image of the tournament. Everyone is happy with the money being doled out to the various associations through the process of IPL,” he added.

First mistake

BCCI vice-president Ravi Sawant said that Srinivasan should not have been allowed to buy the Chennai Super Kings team in the IPL on the ground of conflict of interest. “The first mistake was to have allowed Srinivasan to buy Chennai Super Kings. There is conflict of interest. He should not have been allowed to buy CSK at that time,” he said.

“The SC has given just one day and it has said it will pass its interim order tomorrow. So there is no time to call an emergency meeting of the board. Whatever the SC says in its order tomorrow, we will have to abide by it. There is no other way,” he added.

Former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah felt the rot in the BCCI has gone too far and the board will now have to clean up the game before the public loses interest in it. “It’s a bad day for BCCI. Things have gone far beyond and it will only hurt cricket a lot. But I think in the interest of cleaning up the game, may be the Supreme Court’s observations are correct. Whatever the Supreme Court decides BCCI will have to abide by it,” he said.

“Most of the BCCI members are in dark about what is transpiring in the last 7-8 days. So, the BCCI should immediately, without any further delay, call a special general body meeting and apprise all members about what has happened. And then the persons who are responsible should be taken to task.

“We are in a very sorry state and BCCI must immediately take bold steps to restore the tarnished image of the Board. It is now the duty of all members to get together and find out a way to restore the credibility of the board,” he said. Shah said it will now be difficult to hold the IPL 7 if the Supreme Court bars CSK and RR from taking part in it.

With inputs from agencies

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