Time was when the grouses against IPL were that it resulted in players being overworked, that the cheerleaders’ costumes were against Indian culture and that the focus was on film stars instead of cricket. This was baby talk compared to the issues being raised now. Now we know that the IPL Commissioner’s brother-in-law has a stake in an IPL franchise; his stepson-in-law holds the web rights for IPL. We already know that a member of the BCCI has a stake in another IPL franchise. Looks like the great men in the cricket board who rule the cricketers with an iron hand have not heard of something called ‘clash of interest’.
Also, a minister in the Central Government ‘blesses’ the formation of a new franchise and the lady who is rumoured to be his love interest gets a ‘free’ stake in the franchise. She of course claims that it is ‘sweat equity’ for advice rendered to the franchise.
And as if all this was not enough, the IPL Commissioner, Mr. Lalit Modi, who seems to be greatly troubled over the allotment of the Kochi franchise, vents out his ire on Twitter. One would think that a person of his stature would use a proper forum to present this issue. It looks more like he is bent on disqualifying the Kochi franchise, Rendezvous Sports World as well as disturbing Mr. Shashi Tharoor’s already fragile ministerial post. The match off the field , that is the Modi-Tharoor spat is now providing more entertainment than the actual matches.
With skeletons tumbling out of various cupboards, one realises that IPL is not just about cricket and entertainment now. One can now hear about franchises routed through tax havens which obviously indicate money laundering activities and of pressures to allot franchises to particular business entities. It does look like IPL is only about money, i.e. making tons of it by hook or by crook. The day may not be far when we get to hear that IPL matches are fixed.
Author: Pratibha Shenoy, Bangalore.