The IPL mess May 3, 2010

Shastri defends governing council role

Cricinfo staff

Ravi Shastri has strongly defended his role in the IPL's governing council after questions were raised over whether the body's lack of vigilance helped in the alleged financial misdeeds of former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi. A scandal involving charges of large-scale financial impropriety overshadowed events on the field during the final stages of the tournament.

The 13-member council was to monitor the administration of the IPL, and had three former Indian captains on it - Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi. Shastri said his role, and that of Gavaskar and Pataudi, was restricted to overseeing the cricket, and not the finances or marketing of the tournament.

"My job is to ask cricketing questions, which I did," Shastri told the Mumbai Mirror. "And we all did in different areas in different meetings. When it comes to deals and finance, there is the finance committee and the working committee of the board.

"If someone tells me I am going to do a television deal for 30m dollars, I can't say make it 50m. It's not my area of expertise. If you ask me whether there should be five overseas players instead of four, or there should be 80 matches instead of 60, then I have my opinion. Look at the minutes of meetings -- there are several times when I have voiced my opinion. If anyone wants to point a finger about the cricket, I am willing to answer any query."

All three former captains have been retained on the council after the suspension of Modi. They have been entrusted with working out modalities of the 2011 auction, including a plan to for franchises to withhold three foreign and four local players, after consultations with the players, coaches and franchise officials.

Shastri elaborated on the issues involved in forming teams for the fourth season. " [We need to look into] the interests of franchise owners who have invested in players for three years. They'll have their ideas. Two new teams coming in will have their own ideas," he said. "How to make it a level playing field is another key issue. It can't be the case that all the top players are taken away by the eight original franchises. The strength of the league is in the strength of the teams. You can't let it happen that a franchise owner who has more money can go and clean up the table."