Cricket is considered a religion in India and a cricket fan recently said, “There are four seasons in India namely summer, winter, autumn and IPL.” I consider this statement very aptly put, because the IPL game played annually stretches over 2 months. In these months the talk of the town is cricket, and the cricketers are worshipped as they travel across the country to play respective matches of IPL.
In these two months, every year, I find two sets of people. One, who truly adore the T-20 format and the quick results of the IPL matches. As there are nail-biting moments wrapped in the 20 overs which both teams play separately. The second set of people keep a distance from cricket altogether and they don’t care about IPL matches.
I find a dilemma here when we decide if IPL is really a “season”. I try to find out the reasons for the second set of people not getting inked with IPL fever and what I find makes me cry foul. Cricket being my favourite sport I can understand the joy of playing the sport. In the recent times when cricket got fired with bad light, as controversies and spot-fixing cases hurt my sentiments attached with cricket. I decided, finally, to break my silence, and speak to all those people who consider cricket as not a genuine sport anymore.
Yes, I understand the match-fixing scandals in the past broke the trust of common people from cricket. I understand that the complaints of people when they convincingly say that every match in the IPL is fixed are founded on strong grounds. What I, however, fail to understand is that why should the sanctity of cricket be sacrificed due to a few sportspersons playing foul? The Indian Premier League came up in 2008 bringing cricket greats from across the globe to play in a quick T-20 tournament. Here not only famous cricketers got the opportunity to explore their cricketing talents, but also the lesser known players who played in Ranji Trophy in India got this opportunity. It was an open league which was accepted with open hearts from cricket fans across the globe.
Then the harm was caused to the game when bookies tried their best to attract young cricketers for some amount of money. From IPL Chief to the Chief Operating Officer, many people in the decision making panel were accused of favoritism towards people close to them. Lalit Modi, for instance, was accused of selling the Kolkata Knight Riders team to Jay Mehta at a lower price because he happened to be his friend in school. Rajasthan Royals was also sold at a cheaper price and all accusations went on to the close connections of Modi.
Recently Lalit Modi spilled ink on the Indian great, Suresh Raina, for involvement in the IPL spot fixing scam to which Raina denied completely. Lalit Modi was removed from his post after being defamed for certain financial irregularities. All in all, there was an effort to clean the IPL but with each passing year, the supporters lost their faith in the tournament and, moreover in cricket.
Indian pacer Sreeshant accepted his role in spot-fixing with two other players who were jailed along with him. The recent news regarding the involvement of Rajasthan team owner Raj Kundra and Chennai Super Kings owner Gurunath Meiyappan in spot fixing scam adds to the vows. Gurunath Meiyappan happens to be the son-in-law of expelled BCCI (IPL affairs) President N. Srinivasan. N.Srinivasan was removed from his post and Sunil Gavaskar was made the interim president and given the task to clean the Indian Premier League. Sunil Gavaskar has held meetings with IPL team owners to bring about the truth behind Sundar Raman who has been the Chief Operating Officer of IPL since 2008. Sundar Raman has been accused for leaking insider information amongst other accusations.
The Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals are suspended from playing in Indian Premier League for two years by handy proofs found against the team owners. The Supreme Court judgment headed by Lodha committee delivered the verdict today. Moreover the owners Raj Kundra and Gurunath Meiyappan have been found guilty and stand suspended from the game for the next 5 years. The statements given by them in their defense were found ineligible.
It is a welcome move by the Supreme Court of India which brings back the faith of cricket-lovers. The verdict entails that justice shall prevail in future too and the people who commit criminal activities shall be penalized and punished accordingly to save the prestige and beauty of the game.
Gagandeep Singh Vaid
Image Source: The Viewspaper