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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The IPL Verdict: Operation Clean-Up Indian Cricket!



July 14, 2015, a very important day for Indian Cricket. On the one hand the forcibly-constituted second-string Team India has crushed Zimbabwe 3-0 in the ODI Series being played in Zimbabwe. On the other the Supreme Court appointed Justice Lodha Committee delivered a historic and ruthless verdict on the IPL Spot Fixing scam. Operation Clean-Up Indian cricket has begun with a big bang. In these pages we have always opposed the sleazy cricket in the garb of the Indian Premier League (IPL) tracking all the important developments including the Supreme Court of India coming into the picture taking on the corrupt practices both in the tournament and in the Indian cricket board, BCCI. Now the IPL is in the worst crisis ever. Now, we stand vindicated, we say now…scrap the IPL.

Sans the superstars the second-string Indian team played freely in Zimbabwe under the ‘no-choice’ skipper Ajinkya Rahane. They have built up big partnerships that the main team was found lacking in recent matches; several key batsmen hit centuries and what is important stayed on for the team’s interest that many superstars of the main team could not do; they have pulled the team out of tricky and dangerous situations especially in the first and the third one day internationals winning both matches whereas as found recently under the same situations the main team would have given up meekly; without pondering over the ability or the lack of it of the opposition they have batted, bowled and fielded with determination winning finally in style. For the first time Stuart Binny got the opportunity to showcase his all-round abilities. He was in the World Cup-2015 team, but was hardly utilized. Within a few days the new team grouped well and delivered. And what about the superstars? They forced out the ‘rest’ because they were IPL-weary. Now, most of them find that they have no IPL teams to play for.

The sensational IPL Verdict has banned two major franchises—Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR)—from the IPL for two years. The axe fell on these two teams due to their two key officials—Gurunath Meiyappan of CSK and Raj Kundra of RR—who were found guilty of being involved in heavy betting. Despite their obvious complicity no action was ever taken against them by the concerned franchisee or the BCCI. Meiyappan and Kundra are banned for life from all cricket activities and from all cricket matters relating to the BCCI. Crucial evidence in this regard was submitted by the Mudgal Committee last year.

Question marks are also on the current one-day skipper MS Dhoni who also leads the CSK as to what he disclosed or hid from the Mudgal committee. He was found to be in close coordination with Meiyappan, the CEO of the franchisee, in all matters related to CSK. The shadow of doubt on him and several other star cricketers are bound to continue till further disclosure. Three players of RR were arrested for spot fixing and with the co-owner Raj Kundra also implicated nobody in the franchisee bothered to examine or take action. This is not the end of justice being done; this is just the beginning of operation clean-up Indian cricket. More is bound to follow with the Lodha committee set to take up the corruption and lack of transparency in the BCCI next.

And what about N Srinivasan? His team gone, his company Indian Cements debarred from any business with the BCCI and his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan banned for life. However, well known for his craze for power, N Srinivasan will not step down or resign from his ICC Chairmanship or other cricket posts. Questions will be raised again on his role, but the great cricket-czar is still looking for options expressing his disappointment at the ‘unfair’ verdict. One thing is sure though, Indian Cricket cannot be the same after today.
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