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A half-chance to clean up cricket

Published Mar 29, 2014, 11:41 am IST
Updated Apr 8, 2019, 8:02 am IST
The Indian captain was placed in a hugely embarrassing position
Picture for representation purpose.
 Picture for representation purpose.

An interim order by the Supreme Court gives cricket half a chance to cleanse itself of the kind of corruption that crept into the game through betting scandals, awkward conflicts of interest and an unrestrained love of money, glamour and glitz as enshrined in the cash-rich Indian Premier League. By removing, at least for now, the fount of all such conflicts in BCCI president N. Srinivasan, one hopes a genuine cleanup act will be attempted.
Where the interim order falls way short is in not ordering immediately a full-scale investigation into IPL scandals by a special investigating team reporting periodically on its progress to the highest court.

The learned judges may have been swayed by popular sentiment for the game in allowing IPL Season 7 to go ahead with all eight teams, including the two most in the eye of the storm — Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. But justice wins here as it would have been patently unfair to penalise many players for the sins of a few black sheep.

 

The duality seen in cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar handling IPL while senior BCCI vice-president Shivlal Yadav takes control of all other cricketing matters might not be free of complications, although former players can be expected to always act in the best interests of the game.

The BCCI’s objection to Sunil Gavaskar was camouflaged in legalistic constitutional arguments but it does appear that the board is such a cosy and closed club that it would not tolerate an independent-minded person managing an important part of the game during the cleansing period.

 

Fierce arguments emerged following certain accusations against Team India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni made by the counsel for the petitioner from Bihar Cricket Association, who was actually the one to set the ball rolling regarding the BCCI being in dire need of a major cleanup. Whatever be the truth of the matter, the fact remains that the Indian captain was placed in a hugely embarrassing position only because he was constantly thrust into situations filled with such an obvious conflict of interest.

Cricket’s claim to a higher morality lends such matters as are being highlighted in the great IPL moral conundrum a weight that would not arise in many other areas of even greater national concern. Mr Srinivasan, at the centre of this charmed circle of players and administrators, was responsible for letting things come to such a pass that cricket now faces its toughest test yet in front of the Supreme Court.

 

If he continues to operate the “remote control” and refuses to heed the spirit behind the orders passed so far, he will be solely responsible for destroying the very game and people he had helped endow with unimaginable riches.

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