IPL Controversies, Million Dollars And Opportunities
The seventh edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) kickstarted on April 16, this year, with the former champion Mumbai Indians (MI) losing to 2012 champion Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the opening game. Based on English Premier League, the IPL is a brain child of the then BCCI Vice-President Lalit Modi. Created along the lines of club football in Europe, IPL was launched in response to the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) launched by Zee Group.
Since its launch in 2008, the IPL has remained a controversial product, where allegations of cricket betting, money laundering, termination of franchise and spot fixing were witnessed. The IPL franchises have a number of issues regarding the viability of the business model, sponsorship fees, and reduction in the brand value, fees paid to players and other issues that threaten the game. Besides, the infamous ‘Slap-Gate’ or Lalit Modi’s suspension, IPL saw everything.
From vulgar cheerleaders to Minister’s resignation, from a team owner (Shahrukh Khan of Kolkata Knight Riders) getting banned at Wankhede Cricket Stadium (Mumbai) to cricketers being caught at rave parties, IPL has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
IPL 1 (2008): Mumbai Indians’ stand-in captain Harbhajan Singh slapped Kings XI Punjab’s S Sreesanth after losing a match in Mohali. A sobbing Sreesanth was caught on camera. After investigations, BCCI handed Harbhajan an 11-match suspension.
IPL 2 (2009): Shifted to South Africa due to general elections, the second edition got embroiled in the charges of allegations of foreign exchange violations. The Enforcement Directorate issued ‘Red Corner’ to IPL Commissioner Modi. Kings XI co-owner Mohit Burman was beaten up by security guards for improper behaviour with a lady spectator. Shahrukh Khan and John Buchanan’s decision of ‘Multiple Captaincy’ created rifts in KKR team with anonymous blogger ‘Fake IPL Player’ creating a flutter.
IPL 3 (2010): The BCCI suspended Modi for misappropriation of funds. Junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor resigned from his post after investigations revealed his role in bringing Kochi Tuskers Kerala on board with his the then girlfriend Sunanda Pushkar also involved in dealings.
IPL 4 (2011): Before the start of tournament, Manish Pandey was banned by IPL governing council for four matches as he indulged in underhand dealings with franchises. Post-fourth edition, Kochi Tuskers Kerala were scrapped from the tournament, after they failed to pay the franchise fees.
IPL 5 (2012): During IPL, RCB cricketer Luke Pomersbach arrested by police for harassing an NRI woman. Deccan Chargers pacer TP Sudhindra got life ban after being caught in a sting operation agreeing to spot-fix matches. Veteran UP pacer Shalabh Srivastava handed five-year ban on being caught agreeing to fix matches. Mohnish Mishra, Amit Yadav and Abhinav Bali received one-year ban each for unsubstantiated bragging. Pune players Rahul Sharma and Wayne Parnell were caught at a rave party in Mumbai.
IPL 6 (2013): Delhi Police’s Special Cell arrested S Sreesanth, domestic players Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, who had allegedly spot-fixed three of Rajasthan Royals’ matches.
The IPL is not just about the controversies and million dollars but it has something unique to offer as the youngsters get to rub shoulders with legends of the game, which helps them learn not only about the game but also about life. It provides the much-demanded platform for youngsters to show their skills and talent and try to break into the national side. Not just the youngsters even some of the older horses play IPL to find form and regain their place in the national squad.
According to Shane Watson (an Australian cricketer), “The game of cricket has evolved and the environment has changed now. With Test, one-dayers and Twenty20 around, you have to make adjustments in mindset too. IPL gave me a great opportunity, worked as a catalyst and I could blossom as a cricketer as well as a person. There may be difference in opinion but the IPL has positives too.”
Players like Kohli, Dhawan, Rahane, Jadeja, Mohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and many others represent India on account of their good IPL performance. Many other are considered to be a future stars like Sanju Samson, Yuzevendra Chahal, Ishwar Pandey, Parvez Rasool, Rishi Dhawan, Suryakumar Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni and the likes. All these young Indian cricketers have a very good opportunity not just to knock the doors but to break themselves into the Indian squad and create competition for place with seniors. Cricket has always been like a religion for this country. It is seen as more than just a game. The players are considered demigods and literally worshipped. The Indian Premier League is an amazing occurrence in the whole of cricket history. It is seen as a very good opportunity for young players and the ones who aimed at coming back in their national side. The format of Twenty20 cricket has emerged as a phenomenon after the Twenty20 World Cup was won by India and since then people have been totally immersed into it.
The Jammu & Kashmir off spinner Parvez Rasool said: “I feel one should grab every opportunity that comes one’s way and IPL is sure a perfect platform to showcase one’s talent.” In the midst of money and controversies it is up to the players how they carry themselves and what exactly their aim is. IPL is a sure shot distraction with late night parties, exposure with Bollywood stars, high-paid salaries and unlimited fun but those with determined goal, good work ethics and disciplined lifestyle can manage all this and achieve their target.
By Sorabh Aggarwal