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The ugly spectre of spot fixing has returned to what used to be the gentleman's game and it comes as little surprise that the Indian Premier League just can't escape a season without a fresh controversy. The income disparity between the haves and the have nots in cricket is there for everyone to see, and while international stars roll into India on multi-million dollar contracts, young local talent is paid peanuts in comparison. In an environment tailor made for a person to make a fast buck, it should also come as no surprise that youngsters can be lured by the promise of dirty money.
However, the latest controversy courtesy a year long sting operation by India Tv throws up as many questions as it does answers. It would be safe to assume that the television channel has probably interviewed hundreds of players in their attempt to get a nab a few under its web. The fact that the odd rotten egg would exist in a pool of 270 odd cricketers would probably surprise no one. In a country where corruption is rampant in every section of society including quite clearly the government, what is perhaps surprising is the fact that just a couple of cricketers have been caught on camera, and that too fringe players.
With the number of close finishes the IPL has had this season, there tends to be an instant reaction from many a fan about anything from a dropped catch to a last ball being hit for six, looking rigged. While such observations are probably without merit and sadly unwarranted, one can empathize with the Indian cricket fan, considering the environment in which he has been brought up.
In terms of the players under the scanner, one can expect the standard response of them claiming that footage or audio has been altered, and there is bound to be accusations flying back and forth of the legitimecy of both the methodology adopted and information presented.
As far as the team owners are concerned, the issue of black money and salaries being paid 'under the table' is a serious one. While such a situation again would surprise no one in India, the suggestion of a fair open market system where players can negotiate contracts based on their worth and not the number of years they have played the sport is an easy solution. Appointing and training agents for players and professionalizing the sport would go a long way in introducing transparency and better corporate governance, not to mention benefitting the exchequer by declaring real income.
And finally, with respect to the BCCI, their response as expected has been lightning quick. An emergency meeting of the Governing Council has been called and the channel has been requested to make the footage available for the Council to review. However, it is the next course of action which will make or break the League. No doubt a person is innocent until proven guilty, but in the interim surely suspensions must be brought in place. However, once the investigation has been concluded, the nature of both the punishments on those found guilty, and the precautionary measures to prevent a recurrence are equally crucial.
With Indian cricket having amazingly survived Cronje-gate and the fall out of it on the likes of Mohammad Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar, all of whom continue to this day claim their innocence, one can only wonder what the potential repercussions of a similar investigation could be on the multi-billion dollar enterprise known as the Indian Premier League.
Turbulent times surely lie ahead.
- 16/05/2012 19:36 - IPL Match 65: Kolkata outplay Mumbai to book their spot in the Play-offs
- 16/05/2012 15:42 - BCCI suspends 5 players, orders investigation into IPL Sting
- 15/05/2012 19:07 - IPL Match 64: Mahela guides Delhi home in a tight finish at Kotla