Indian Premier League 7 in jeopardy

The IPL, a Twenty20 tournament that draws some of the biggest names in world cricket, has been embroiled in a number of scandals since it began less than a decade ago.



By (AFP)

Published: Sat 29 Mar 2014, 1:31 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 9:09 PM

India’s Supreme Court recommended on Thursday that Sunil Gavaskar step in as head of the country’s cricket board and banned two teams from this year’s IPL over their role in a betting scandal.

After warning the incumbent N. Srinivasan that they could order him to quit, a panel of judges proposed 64-year-old Gavaskar take over on an interim basis as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

“In the place of Srinivasan, we propose to appoint an experienced cricket player like Sunil Gavaskar to replace him and function as BCCI president,” Justice A.K. Patnaik said at a hearing in New Delhi.

The two-man panel also said the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and the Rajasthan Royals (RR) — the two teams at the centre of an ongoing probe into illegal betting and match-fixing — should be barred from the next edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) beginning next month.

The IPL, a Twenty20 tournament that draws some of the biggest names in world cricket, has been embroiled in a number of scandals since it began less than a decade ago. The panel is looking at a damning report it commissioned into wrongdoing in last year’s tournament when former Test bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth was caught deliberately bowling badly while playing for the Rajasthan Royals in return for thousands of dollars from bookmakers.

Released in February, the report also concluded that Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan — who was the team principal of the Chennai Super Kings — could be guilty of illegal betting on IPL games. The Super Kings are owned by India Cements. Srinivasan is managing director of this firm. The team is captained by India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

“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,” added Patnaik, who is head of the two-judge panel.

Reacting to the court’s decision, Sunil Gavaskar said he was willing to step in as president of the Indian cricket board.

“If the honourable Supreme Court tells you to do something, then of course ... if they ask me to do something, I will do it,” Gavaskar told the NDTV network.

“There is nothing that you can do if the Supreme Court — the highest court — asks you to do something, that’s it.”

Such a ban would have a devastating impact on the eight-team IPL which is due to resume next month in the UAE. The start of this year’s tournament has been relocated as India is holding a general election.

On Tuesday, the court had urged Srinivasan to stand down as president of the board to enable a “fair” investigation into the allegations.

He has so far not reacted to either the call to resign nor Thursday’s recommendation from the court about Gavaskar replacing him. The 64-year-old Gavaskar, the first player ever to score 10,000 runs in Test match cricket, is now a television commentator and is a former head of the ICC’s cricket committee. He is also a strident newspaper columnist and has been at the forefront of recent calls for coach Duncan Fletcher’s sacking.


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