April 25, 2010

Indian Premier League

The cricket crisis

Jamie Alter

The controversy involving the BCCI and the IPL dominates the media and public attention because this issue is not about the political interests of the Congress or the BJP, or about IPL commissioner Lalit Modi or former minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor, writes Arun Nehru in Asian Age. This concerns all of us as huge money is involved in the game and all government high-ups are involved.

We have seen the havoc created by offshore accounts in the US, UK and other European countries and we are all aware of the “special” financial agreements available in Dubai. We face a serious internal security threat on several fronts and a detailed investigation with the co-operation of the government in other countries is necessary to unveil the accounts in tax havens. Hopefully, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government will try to ensure that there is minimal discomfort to those who are not involved directly.

Lalit Modi's phenomenal success in conceptualising and executing the IPL has shown off his business acumen in the field of cricket. But outside of cricket, his other business ventures haven't been so successful, which involved court cases with ESPN and a proposed lifestyle channel which never took of. Archana Shukla has more in the New Indian Express.

In the same paper, Apruva writes on Modi's brush with politics and politicians, one that hasn't escaped controversy, including court cases and allegations of corruption. It all began with a slap in the face...

It was five years ago, soon after Modi became president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association. Modi had managed to accompany Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his visit to the Ranthambore National Park and drove his car behind the PM’s motorcade. But a senior police officer, who didn’t recognise the cricket official, stopped Modi, asked him why he was “following” the convoy and then slapped him for getting too argumentative. Though that officer escaped Modi’s now-famed wrath, perhaps this incident sparked Modi’s disdain for government officers and bureaucrats.

In the same paper, Joby Joseph writes on Modi's background and a brief history of his foray into cricket.

Much before he finished school, Modi was keen to go to the US for higher studies. To realise this dream, he skipped his school-leaving examination in India, making him no longer eligible for admission in any of the Indian colleges. Lalit hated life in boarding schools in Shimla and Nainital. With no other option, Modi’s parents agreed to send him to America. To his credit, he performed well in SAT, or the Scholastic Aptitude Test, essential for admission to American colleges.

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Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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