April 16, 2010

Get off the front page

The latest financial scandal could discredit the league and take away from the good that it has done by giving young players the chance to share the spotlight with the stars
66

So cricket again descends to the front pages, normally the abode of tragedies, scams, budgets, or lately, full-page ads. I am not sure it is the right place for sports - unless, of course, a shooter wins a gold medal at the Olympics. They belong on the back pages, where people go to feel good. But now the IPL is being dragged out of there and this is not good for a league that has achieved so much but is still very young.

As a sporting event, the IPL has been excellent so far. It has provided a platform for young talent, for players who plied their trade in less-reported areas, and were a name on a scoreboard if the sports editor thought it worthy. Saurabh Tiwary echoed those sentiments when he said he got more attention for a twenty in the IPL than for a hundred for Jharkhand. We might gather together and bemoan the lack of purity in strokeplay, but if we were Tiwary we would say the same and look to the IPL for the world to know of our existence.

The IPL has also allowed us another look at the ageing stars; cricketers we enjoyed watching and thought would now be available only on television reruns or DVDs. One of the most thrilling moments in recent times for me was watching Anil Kumble bowl the first over of a match to Virender Sehwag. And as a result of watching these stars we know now that many can make the journey from Tests to Twenty20, but the reverse remains unproven, even though Shane Watson did use the shortest format as a platform to return to Test cricket.

The IPL, I fear, runs the risk of being remembered for what is appearing on the front pages and in breaking-news headlines on television channels. The players can perform great deeds but eventually sport, like everything else, is run by finance, and the IPL has been as much a financial event as a sporting one. When auctions happen and resultant financial tangles emerge, everyone becomes an expert on all matters. I will not claim that position but will make just one observation. The two areas the IPL needs to be most careful about are the quality of its franchise owners, and therefore complete transparency, and the distance it can keep from match-fixing (or spot-fixing, which is more in the news lately).

The two areas the IPL needs to be most careful about are the quality of its franchise owners, and therefore complete transparency, and the distance it can keep from match-fixing (or spot-fixing, which is more in the news lately)

In the first round of bidding for teams, the IPL was lucky that established corporate houses like Reliance, United Breweries, GMR, Deccan Chronicle and India Cements came forth. After initial scepticism, Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta and the partners in King's XI also emerged as committed team owners. They had a big role to play in the early days of the IPL and the seamless movement to South Africa last year. Indeed Cricket South Africa offered its hand to a vulnerable child and the IPL owes it a bit too. Going ahead the IPL needs the same degree of commitment. You only need to look to the current fortunes of some teams in English football, or indeed to the trauma of the West Indies Cricket Board's Stanford association, to realise how easily things can go wrong.

But while storms rage in political and other worlds, you wouldn't know anything was wrong if you watched the cricket or were at the grounds. Kevin Pietersen's masterful performance against the Rajasthan Royals showed just why he is one of the great players of this generation. And Harmeet Singh's delightful spell reminded us of how unfancied players can be empowered. The IPL allows Harmeet, Jaskaran Singh, B Sumanth and others to rub shoulders with Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds and more of their kind, and that cannot be a bad thing.

Indeed, if there is something the last week at the IPL has reinforced, it is that teams need contributions from local players to survive. The revival of the Deccan Chargers was built around contributions from Tirumalasetti Suman and Harmeet. Till then they had looked an eight-man team, but like with the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers, they look much better when there are many contributors.

And the league table can't be closer. The greatest strength of the IPL is the equalisation of resources brought about by the spending cap. In future, whether it is on the front pages or back, this will separate it from other leagues.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. He is on the IPL commentary team

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ravishankara on April 18, 2010, 17:01 GMT

    Now that Modi has taught a lesson to Tharoor, he should come clean on shareholdings of other franchisees also. I look forward to his tweets on RR, KXIP etc,, He should also disclose anyone related to IPL owners are working in his office

  • popcorn on April 18, 2010, 1:40 GMT

    The IPL is really the GREAT INDIAN LOTTERY.

  • phenom_007 on April 17, 2010, 21:08 GMT

    @ Jaysh. The piece of my mind, which I had penned in my prior post, was only confine to an unexampled support IPL received from the Indians all across the globe & the sheer apathy which was shown towards the Stanford.

    Having said that, the fact that in the process IPL went onto become one of the world's top notch sporting event just goes onto proof that one of us (in this case it was Mr. Modi) had in him to give birth to a billion dollar baby (although man and birth don't go hand in hand!). Though, I do concur with you that a puffy wallet is more often than not is the cause of all the sins in the world. And hence, it becomes that much more important for the BCCI to make sure that the above line doesn't imply on the IPL. It's great that the baby is celebrating its 3rd birthday, but the real ask would be to keep it away from all the evils in the world, though I do know that nothing in this world ever takes place in the vacuum. But let's hope for an exception.

  • mmoosa on April 17, 2010, 19:34 GMT

    Its difficult to comprehend why a 7 week tournament is being lambasted by so many when it should be lauded as the hottest cricket ticket on earth. Sounds like sour grapes and jealousy.Limited overs cricket was the original doomsday for cricket-unfortunately what accrued was a new cricketing test nation (S.L),BETTER TAIL END BATTERS,better fielding and faster run rates in test cricket with more results. 20 over cricket is bringing a new fan base to cricket and in time too will add to other forms of the game-apart from the doom and gloomers!

  • S.N.Singh on April 17, 2010, 17:06 GMT

    Most of the comments here are in tune of what is going on. IPL is not for producing Test Cricketers. But the advantage in it is that people get to have some sort of entertainment where they can say I have enjoyed the couple of hours. IPL is just "Lashing the Ball." On the other hand to gives the Indian and other players a chance to "Earn Something" from cricket. Most of these players will not get the chance to play Test Cricket. They can say at anytime that I earn some money by playing cricket. It's a different entertainment for the players and the fans. What governing body do is up to them providing they do not break the law. S.N.Singh USA

  • fisher2 on April 17, 2010, 16:20 GMT

    of course players like shane warne or anil kumbel wil open the attack when you dont have champs like the aamir's or the gul's i totaly disagree with the writer twenty20 is all about agresion about firepower i want heve my mony worth when i go to see twenty20.

  • Crazicket on April 17, 2010, 14:09 GMT

    Adding to the present scenario of the crisis, lots of comments has been seen about the politics should be kept away from IPL. Just think back who added politics flavor to IPL. Was it the Jr.Modi for the Sr. Modi? Remember second season of IPL, during the general elections in India. The home ministry wanted the dates to be extended for the security reasons. But Jr.Modi, wanted to take it away, Sr.Modi offered Gujarath. But it was taken to SA. What is more important to IPL? Money or Democracy? We have seen it.

  • henchart on April 17, 2010, 12:27 GMT

    The after effects of IPL........Indians get a pasting at T 20 World Cup in WI and skipper Dhoni blames lack of rest before such a crucial tournament.

  • khmayecha on April 17, 2010, 10:18 GMT

    Excellently written, Harsha. IPL is where it is solely for the reason that it is found more in the front page than the sports page. Its all politics and money matters being fired from the shoulders of young cricketers and retired cricketers with a big name - though the good part is that they are also being benefitted far more than what they had ever imagined - in terms of exposure as well as financially. Modi has done what needed to be done and i think now it should be handed over to the more cricket minded leaders of BCCI. The head must be an ex cricketer in conjunction with an able administrator. Modi has bitten more than he can chew so he must hibernate for some time.

  • kpradyu060 on April 17, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    Harsha Bhogle is the best commentator and always smiling.i wish espn would start the school quiz again.it was fantastic

  • Ravishankara on April 18, 2010, 17:01 GMT

    Now that Modi has taught a lesson to Tharoor, he should come clean on shareholdings of other franchisees also. I look forward to his tweets on RR, KXIP etc,, He should also disclose anyone related to IPL owners are working in his office

  • popcorn on April 18, 2010, 1:40 GMT

    The IPL is really the GREAT INDIAN LOTTERY.

  • phenom_007 on April 17, 2010, 21:08 GMT

    @ Jaysh. The piece of my mind, which I had penned in my prior post, was only confine to an unexampled support IPL received from the Indians all across the globe & the sheer apathy which was shown towards the Stanford.

    Having said that, the fact that in the process IPL went onto become one of the world's top notch sporting event just goes onto proof that one of us (in this case it was Mr. Modi) had in him to give birth to a billion dollar baby (although man and birth don't go hand in hand!). Though, I do concur with you that a puffy wallet is more often than not is the cause of all the sins in the world. And hence, it becomes that much more important for the BCCI to make sure that the above line doesn't imply on the IPL. It's great that the baby is celebrating its 3rd birthday, but the real ask would be to keep it away from all the evils in the world, though I do know that nothing in this world ever takes place in the vacuum. But let's hope for an exception.

  • mmoosa on April 17, 2010, 19:34 GMT

    Its difficult to comprehend why a 7 week tournament is being lambasted by so many when it should be lauded as the hottest cricket ticket on earth. Sounds like sour grapes and jealousy.Limited overs cricket was the original doomsday for cricket-unfortunately what accrued was a new cricketing test nation (S.L),BETTER TAIL END BATTERS,better fielding and faster run rates in test cricket with more results. 20 over cricket is bringing a new fan base to cricket and in time too will add to other forms of the game-apart from the doom and gloomers!

  • S.N.Singh on April 17, 2010, 17:06 GMT

    Most of the comments here are in tune of what is going on. IPL is not for producing Test Cricketers. But the advantage in it is that people get to have some sort of entertainment where they can say I have enjoyed the couple of hours. IPL is just "Lashing the Ball." On the other hand to gives the Indian and other players a chance to "Earn Something" from cricket. Most of these players will not get the chance to play Test Cricket. They can say at anytime that I earn some money by playing cricket. It's a different entertainment for the players and the fans. What governing body do is up to them providing they do not break the law. S.N.Singh USA

  • fisher2 on April 17, 2010, 16:20 GMT

    of course players like shane warne or anil kumbel wil open the attack when you dont have champs like the aamir's or the gul's i totaly disagree with the writer twenty20 is all about agresion about firepower i want heve my mony worth when i go to see twenty20.

  • Crazicket on April 17, 2010, 14:09 GMT

    Adding to the present scenario of the crisis, lots of comments has been seen about the politics should be kept away from IPL. Just think back who added politics flavor to IPL. Was it the Jr.Modi for the Sr. Modi? Remember second season of IPL, during the general elections in India. The home ministry wanted the dates to be extended for the security reasons. But Jr.Modi, wanted to take it away, Sr.Modi offered Gujarath. But it was taken to SA. What is more important to IPL? Money or Democracy? We have seen it.

  • henchart on April 17, 2010, 12:27 GMT

    The after effects of IPL........Indians get a pasting at T 20 World Cup in WI and skipper Dhoni blames lack of rest before such a crucial tournament.

  • khmayecha on April 17, 2010, 10:18 GMT

    Excellently written, Harsha. IPL is where it is solely for the reason that it is found more in the front page than the sports page. Its all politics and money matters being fired from the shoulders of young cricketers and retired cricketers with a big name - though the good part is that they are also being benefitted far more than what they had ever imagined - in terms of exposure as well as financially. Modi has done what needed to be done and i think now it should be handed over to the more cricket minded leaders of BCCI. The head must be an ex cricketer in conjunction with an able administrator. Modi has bitten more than he can chew so he must hibernate for some time.

  • kpradyu060 on April 17, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    Harsha Bhogle is the best commentator and always smiling.i wish espn would start the school quiz again.it was fantastic

  • sachin_isnt_god on April 17, 2010, 8:27 GMT

    T20 cricket is a freakin joke...its just like poker...little bit of skill but lot of luck needed...that is why we still don't know who the semi finalists are going to be because any team can beat any team owing to the luck-based format of T20 cricket...

  • Ribs on April 17, 2010, 8:14 GMT

    In country like India IPL will be very sucessful, lot of youngsters were benefited, Players like Sumanth, Harmeet, Monish, Rayudu, Tiwary comes in to the limelight only after their IPL performances. If they work hard they can international matches. There are some disadvanages as well. More money involved and ultimately corrution will take over. If players giving more importance to IPL rather playing for their state or country then ultimately it will kill cricket. Franchise started playing with the players greediness it will harm even IPL as well, Jadeja is an example. In Jadeja's case even mumbai indians franchise needs to be punished as well.

  • the_silent_observer on April 17, 2010, 8:03 GMT

    Harsha, laudable objectives and points brought out in the article. just a question from a born cynic. the transparency that is demanded here has been missing right from the word go and none of you found it fit to bring it up earlier ! even during this year's auction of the players, the secret tie-breaker was crystal-clear in non-transparency and not one of the commentators/analysts/writers talked about that ! complicity at its best !

  • Sanj747 on April 17, 2010, 7:25 GMT

    The IPL is all about filling the pockets of the BCCI. It is not about the game. The very people who are in the midst of the scandal are the root cause of the problem. The game will eventually die when run by such people. In 2011 following the World Cup this circus will conetine with some 97 games. Talk about killing the game.

  • Dino-Moscow on April 17, 2010, 7:06 GMT

    There is absolutely no doubt and question that IPL is good for Indian cricket, as it give a billion aspiring indians a better chance to be part of international cricket than trying to get into the national team. Plus its was simply the natural progression for the sport to move into Leagues just as football in Europe and basket ball in the U.S. Having said that i don't see Modi as a genius but more as a politician to have made the IPL take off. The bigger problem lies fundamentally in the small number of countries playing cricket and hence India's domination due its billion eye balls TV audience, and the power to control this lucrative pie in the hand of couple of people running BCCI/IPL. Until there is no competition from other large cricket TV audience from an alternate country, corruption/transparency will remain big issues, and accordingly its only our government that can make a difference.

  • sweetspot on April 17, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    Sub Saharan Africa needs clean water, the Himalayas need more snow, the polar regions need more ice, India needs greater forest cover and the tiger must be saved from extinction. Come on Harsha, I'm sure you can add to this list. Good start you have made here.

  • the_silent_observer on April 17, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    @Prateek Mittal - "........I curiously look to see if Harsha is shouting 'KK catch', 'DLF maximum' or 'Citi moment of success'. So far I haven't noticed but it could be only because I haven't watched enough......." - you are right in that you have not watched enough ! Every match that Harsha had commentated had been replete with the same branding from him too ! otherwise, do you think he would have been offered the commentating stints ! like smart commentators (with canny business instincts!), Harsha also knows which side of the bread is buttered !! secondly, you have kind of insulted the commentating community, by including Lax Siva in it ! is he a commentator?

  • bramville on April 17, 2010, 6:49 GMT

    Mr. Chaudry Arpan, which part of India do you hail from, for you to say that Kochi team lends no value to the IPL. For that matter no IPL team lends any value to Indian Cricket. On the whole the IPL as offered nothing great to the budding cricket talent in India. 3 IPLs have come and gone and the same old faces feature in the Indian team, with the budding ones still waiting for a chance. Modi inadvertantly made one mistake of rocking the boat that he himself was sitting in. Only time will show more people falling off it.If he was trying to expose the transparency of Kochi franchise ownership, why didnt he think so when the previous 8 franchises were born??

  • bharath74 on April 17, 2010, 6:18 GMT

    phenom_007 wrote"IPL is very much akin to the new India, out of the box and bloody brilliant" . I absolutely agree with you. IPL has created opportunities for local and foreign players, generated revenue and created a lot of jobs. IPL has made India proud and we as the people would want the whole world to enjoy it. We definitely need transparency in the deals. I am pretty sure Modi will withstand any kind of political or regional pressures as he is a honest and hardworking guy. Great article Harsha.

  • wanderer1 on April 17, 2010, 6:06 GMT

    You know a sport that isn't dictated to by finances.... KABBADI. That's right IPL and cricket should take a leaf out of kabbadi's book and keep it real and down to earth. kabbadi doesn't need millionaires to keep the game going, doesn't need corporate sponsorship, nor celebrity endorsements, nor cheerleaders. Modi should look at kabbadi, at the players, the grassroots passion, the fervour generated. Now repeat after me, kabbadi, kabbadi, kabbadi, kabbadi, kabbadi!!

  • on April 17, 2010, 5:40 GMT

    cum on harsha we that the ipl is no longer about cricket only 15 % is probably about the game 35 % is about the broadcasting and advertising while 50% comprises of modi s underhand deal and perhaps corruptness every one knows that modi is trying to becum sum sort of dictator in the ipl if this continues he might become the worst thing to have happened to cricket

  • Pramod75 on April 17, 2010, 5:25 GMT

    Well, why are we getting upset when everyone knows that transparency is hard commodity to get in any situation in India (be it sport, politics or business). No matter what, it will get more shady. I am sure day is not far when a player will allege bribing for consideration to increase his value in auction.

  • on April 16, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    I agree with Amit Sinha from Delhi and would like to add my own extending opinion that transparency may be brought only with the critical intervention of BCCI and the team sponsors together. Again it is a very difficult exercise to bring about from twin parties.

  • on April 16, 2010, 15:42 GMT

    I don't watch many IPL games (only 15 minutes highlights on you tube sometimes) but whatever I watch I curiously look to see if Harsha is shouting 'KK catch', 'DLF maximum' or 'Citi moment of success'. So far I haven't noticed but it could be only because I haven't watched enough. I hope you don't compromise your romance with Cricket by selling your Principles Harsha. On the other hand Laxman Shiva seems to get additional bonus because every single time he duly pay tribute to these sponsors. Soon he will shout every dot ball as moment of success for bowler or fielding side. He wasn't bad in my opinion (against popular view) but now I truly hate him and wish he never again commentates outside IPL.

  • on April 16, 2010, 15:12 GMT

    The story of Harsha, the commentator, is like that of Tiwaris and Sumans and Harmeets. Passion for cricket (commentary), perseverance and finally triumph and a place in the sun. So he can sense the dreams of young ones going sour if IPL is found to be going into wrong hands. I had shared the same apprehension in an earlier conversation yesterday. If this concern has to make a difference, people like Harsha should help the movement to make IPL more transparent. The least that the tv commentators on IPL matches can do is stop becoming 'hawkers' for branding the sixes and 'moments of success' etc. And also refrain from hero worshiping Lalith Modi on tv media. While Modi had indeed done a great deal to market IPL (sadly, an idea imported into India by ICL but smothered by the BCCI clout), the fawning he gets in the media can only lead to creating a megalomaniac. All power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  • sundarb on April 16, 2010, 15:07 GMT

    Harsha, two points stand out in what you mentioned, apart from the fact that domestic players do benefit from the league financially and game-development as well. "complete transparency" and "distancing from match-fixing/spot-fixing". complete transparency can only be achieved in a utopian world and at the very least, it can be termed as naive to expect that from a powerhouse such as the IPL. distancing from match-fixing is a very vague statement, could you elucidate more how exactly do you go about doing that? I mean in Twenty20, things happen so fast that even if there was spot-fixing, it could be fudged as if it were a part and parcel of the game. It is all the more harder and I see no clear way of figuring it out.

  • santhoshkudva on April 16, 2010, 15:01 GMT

    for once harsha, don't expect the naive public to be taken in by your sugar coated words. one could see right through your article: the attempt to restore IPL's lost reputation. we know the IPL is as much a source of income to you as it is to the players. good try, but better luck next time.

  • Sankara on April 16, 2010, 14:50 GMT

    I agree with Settign Sun and a couple of others that Cric info and other media should be careful while putting out seeming ly neutral comments by those empluyed by Mr Modi like Mr Bhogle (though other wise he writes well), Ravi Shastri etc. Article should end with something akin to Statuatoy Warning: " Author employed by IPL and his views may be partial or he may be unable to express his true views"

  • Zaheerahmed on April 16, 2010, 14:21 GMT

    Does any one remember Mr. Stanford - the American billionaire who introduced millions in cricket for the first time. It looks we are in some thing more filthy than just tax evasion. Once and if source of IPL sponsors' funds will be looked into underworld will be surfaced.

  • popcorn on April 16, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    C'mom,Harsha,don't tell me you are so naive that you couldn't see it coming!? Remember what Gideon Haigh told you?"Twenty20 is a TV property masquerading as Cricket".And like all the King's subjects who praised the Emperor's clothes,a little child had to open your eyes to transparency, when he said, "But the Emperor is wearing no clothes!! Cricket is only an instrument in IPL.To compare IPL with EPL is to take us for fools.See how FA functions with respect to EPL, and compare the role of BCCI. You are working for IPL,Harsha.Therefore,I and many others will consider your views as biased towards your employers.I am surprised that even"Straight Bat,Copybook style" Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri have been bought over by IPL to say that budding cricketers are learning how to play cricket! THIS is Cricket?

  • cric-kaka on April 16, 2010, 13:26 GMT

    Harsha worte a very ordinary column without taking any side and with no additional insight. It wasn't worth reading for me.

  • Vipr_Speed on April 16, 2010, 13:24 GMT

    Harsha:Try and keep it real for a change. Even if you can't, at least pretend. Such diplomatic non-offending niceties used in this article can be reserved for a conversation between you and Rahul Dravid. Real cricket fans should be aghast at the sort of dubious folks who are running cricket in India today. Anyway, you are a willing part of this new circus so we cannot expect any real comments from you on Lalit Modi and his shady cronies.

  • anton1234 on April 16, 2010, 13:23 GMT

    I enjoy watching the IPL because there are a lot of excellent cricketers on show, but lately I and many others (judging by what people are saying on cricket forums) have become increasingly frustrated at the constant commentator reference of sponsors. Its bad enough changing catches and sixes to Karbon Kamaals and DLF maximums, but now we constantly see a blimp on our TV screens and, ineveitably, one of the commentators stating that MRF is the first to bring the blimp into India or they are at the forefront of technology. How many times do we have to be told this.

    Its obvious the blimp is shown so MRF can get a mention, but all this constant reference to sponsors could well alienate fans. It may bring in few extra millions, but in the long run it will alienate people.

    I understand sponsorhip is crucial increasing revenue, but do you really have to mention every single catch as KK and every six as DLF? Occasionally its OK.

  • knowledge_eater on April 16, 2010, 13:12 GMT

    Thank You, thats what I have been yelling all over the message board, that I don't want to write an 1000 words essay again explaining what IPL have done to Indian Cricket. I am sure that Cricket will go back to 2nd last page of newspaper. Hahaha Awesome Mr.HB, and we will feel excellent and all of our Hb will be get back into normal. This current dispute may be blessing in disguise, India have prevailed from very very worst situations in past. This is actually according to business wise, great dispute for costumers, competition in business will always bring out better for customers. By the way can someone write an Article on how the 2nd half of the matches were severely bowler friendly pitches. So, people keep it quite, and stop calling sloggers park. Peace

  • ATrueLegend on April 16, 2010, 13:07 GMT

    OMG! Is there anything like true journalism? To be very true, I never liked your commentary much. There is nothing much in that in terms of analysis of a game or cricket. All the more, your biased article for IPL, it seems that media has taken responsibility to popularize IPL. Instead of praising IPL for sthng which already existed in english county before like young players playing with experienced players, IPL has given obscene money, celebrity worshipping, watching same faces on camera all time, obscene marketing, downgrading of standard of commentators, and now scams. Common Indian ppl(being patriotic) r just happy to know that it is becoming second league in terms of money after NBA, they don't know they are not gonna get anything out of it and ppl (at the helm of affairs) are just trashing their money in banks(swiss).they don't care abt ckt. Poor ppl. I m completely agree with Setting sun that at least Cricinfo should set an example by not letting columnists directly link to IPL.

  • Jaysh on April 16, 2010, 11:37 GMT

    @ phenom_007, the problem with IPL is the sheer weight of money it generates. The kind of money that's been talked about will start to attract characters of the unsavoury kind (if it hasn't already). Trouble is, the success of IPL has gone to the head of its 'commish'. He is starting to strut around like a latter-day emperor and it is embarrassing to see him preen at the matches. His wings need to be clipped - and fast. This man has a none-too-clean record and has spent 2 years in jail for drug peddling.

  • AmitSinhaDelhi on April 16, 2010, 11:30 GMT

    Harsha, you are talking about transparency from a monopoly. It doesn't happen. The fact is that cricket is now too big for one organization to be allowed to have a monopoly. It is the monopoly powers of BCCI that allowed it to hound ICL out (deny grounds, ban players, etc.) and then replace it with its own show. So while you are espousing the right causes, the structure is such that this will remain a dream. The only way to make this real is to change the structure and demolish the monopoly. Only the legislature can achieve this.

  • wonkymonky on April 16, 2010, 11:21 GMT

    I think its been clear for a long time coming that the IPL is a bit of a rigged event, with large amounts of speculative 'money' shifting between a small group of people. There are no fair play laws: How can the owner of a team (Mr. Mallya owning RCB) also sponsor third umpiring (Kingfisher adverts come up on screen when the third umpire is called upon)??!! I think this is a shockingly poor way to advertise to the world that fair play is not the top priority. Or that Mr. Modi, IPL chairman, is seen live on TV openly supporting KKR or mingling with team owners!! Can you imagine that happening in the premiership in England or the NBA?? Imagine NBA refs wearing a Lakers jersey during a game??!!

  • safapori on April 16, 2010, 11:15 GMT

    The ownership of a franchise should be above board.Even when applying to be a 7-11 franchisee documents have to be provided to establish the veracity of an applicant and his finances .IPL would not want a Dubai based Donto have as a partner nor would they desire a proxy owner.Tharoors involvement is fishy .Modi I am sure is not above board either.I suggest cancel the Kochi franchise , fire the Minister and replace Modi.IPL is a sports league and thus should be run by competent and honest managers who do not have an axe to grind.

  • IDeAS on April 16, 2010, 11:07 GMT

    harsha, Yet again u wrote something quite interesting and worthwhile to read. I am really a big follower of your articles any where and i just wnat to say one that probabaly u r the one of the best of the commentators around we have today.

    Especiallly the line u said after Yusuf Pathan got a duck after the hundred.

    I don`t exactly remember the line but it was something as follows :

    " It seems Yusuf pathan is dealing in binary digits, first a 100 and a 0.

    Hats off to you...

  • Max6 on April 16, 2010, 10:17 GMT

    Its a serious concern if all the Indian states doesn't get fair chance to own a IPL team. If the IPL follows its current method, there might be 2 or 3 teams from a single industrialised state and it wont attract a wider audience.For example, the Maharastra fans will be divided in supporting Mumbai, Poona and probably another city., therefore it will dilute the interests.

  • sandy_bangalore on April 16, 2010, 10:10 GMT

    Its amazing to see that we are lapping up everything that the IPL has to offer, when its so blatant that its a corrupt product headed by a megalomaniac. I am sure the tharoor-pushkar-modi is certainly not the last we are going hear about shady deals and , and there are lot more skeletons waiting to come out of the closet. And it dosent take a genius to figure out that there are passages of play that are contrived(or fixed to use a stronger term). And the sums spent on some extremely average/has-been international players is stagerring to say the least. Its certainly not the 'charming','showcase of India to the world' product as its cheerleaders(commentators) are trying so hard to point out. Ours must be the only country(other than England)where people fawn over extremely average players like Y Pathan,Tiwary and Pollard. No wonder we are light years behind in every sport in this world, as we would rather spend an entire day at stadiums,TV sets watching crickets version of reality TV.

  • on April 16, 2010, 10:08 GMT

    I think IPL is wonderful. It has reduced the risk of choosing cricket as a profession. A national team can only have 14 players at a time and they are ones who make money. A player may be good but may have been born at the wrong time for e. when Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman have been around for 12 - 15 years, imagine someone at their prime were good, probably even better than these 4 when they had their low moments or they were good, but not good enough to make the 14 at any time. They never got a chance, were not noticed and don't make it. With 10 teams you need atleast 250 players and each one of them will make atleast 10 - 20 lakhs just during the course of the tournament. They will get exposure and experience at a level which is difficult to access otherwise and that can also develop . So many other jobs created in media. So many other positive aspects as well. That's great. There are negatives, clearly but what doesn't. All in all, more positives than negatives

  • on April 16, 2010, 9:46 GMT

    "sport, like everything else, is run by finance". Not everything, Harsha, certainly not our love for cricket, at least not as long as it hasn't turned into a nice little earner for us. Perhaps, like William Morrs in "News from Nowhere", we should begin to envisage a world where our human interests and relations are not subordinated to finance but are the untainted expression of rational and free human beings exercising our human faculties in order to excel, simply FOR THE SAKE OF IT, like all true art.

  • FallsDown on April 16, 2010, 9:45 GMT

    Have to agree pretty much entirely with SettingSun's comments. I can't understand the hyperbole campaign...an IPL game is fun while it lasts, at times even - although very rarely - exciting, but a Border-Gavaskar trophy or an England-South Africa test series it is most definitely not. It's great to watch established and retired greats, but a lot of the local Indian players are simply terrible quality, especially their fielding.

    As for the scandal, there seems to be a fair amount of dirty stuff (mostly involving Modi, as you'd expect) just under the surface and hopefully it all spills out in the open for the public soon.

  • malepas on April 16, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    I think Harsha should be the last person who should write about IPL on this topic as he has an vested interest with this highly over hyped,money landering league of money making scheme. Everybody knew that there was something wrong with all this sharad and it has started to come out now. Modi has a chip in his neck and he started to behave like a King rather then a mere administrator he is, I think everybody who is making money from this wanted this to go away like Harsha, but people has every right to know the truth about these deals and where the money is coming from and why the IPL is not paying tax but still portrating this as business?? THERE IS SOMETHING FUNDAMENTELY WRIONG HERE.

  • thatsabhay on April 16, 2010, 9:38 GMT

    I completely agree with Harsha that the IPL provides a fantastic platform for previously unknown youngsters to propel their cricketing careers forward and offcourse being Indian, I love the IPL. But the recent developments have left a sour taste in the mouth. Being a cricket fan I'd love to see Cricket in the headlines for purely cricketing reasons and I strongly oppose the presence of any kind of politician in the governing matters of a sports body. What I want to know, and none of the news channels seem to be asking this question openly, is that how did a "close friend" of a certain politician get free shares in a franchise that he promoted and "helped" win the bid to be a part of the IPL. Anyways this edition of the IPL has been far more exciting than the previous ones and hopefully that continues till the final match!!! Sachin winning the IPL as well as the Orange Cap would be just the Icing on the cake that is the IPL.

  • 68704 on April 16, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    I really think that Lalit Modi is getting it horribly wrong. He really runs the IPL as theough it is his personal fiefdom. He has made more enemies than friends and lots of people are honestly waitiing for him to fail. I think the IPL is a fantastic concept despite a great bias for advertising. But its greatest strength has been channelising the inherent popularity and strength of the shorter version of the game and marketing like it has never before done. But having said that, I think many of the controversies that are pushing the IPL on to the front page are needless and many of them could be avoided with a little tact and patience, neither of which qualities Mr.Modi seems to possess oreven thinks he needs.Cricket is falling into the wrong set of hands now and it could hurt the image of the game overall. But who is to bell the cat? Sridhar

  • wanderer1 on April 16, 2010, 8:59 GMT

    Modi has become bigger than cricket itself. I am become Modi, desttroyer of cricker... Lalit Modi is the eponymous Indian Bookmaker (the shadowy figure who lurks behind every deal and ironically enough likes to stalk Pakistani players as a pastime.) Maybe Modi was also the IPL blogger?

  • sandyrocky on April 16, 2010, 8:52 GMT

    Tell us something new. We know you cant comment against Mr.Modi...very true comment. A league which makes the convenor a superstar is difficult to prosper, as we cud see what happened to Stanford and Kerry Packer. The focus should be on players and performance, rather over here the focus is on the blip,kamaal catches, moment of success & time-outs. This is where professional leagues like Premier league, NBA, MLB, Spanish League score and prosper. Even F1 suffered bcoz there was too much focus on Bernie at some point. The broadcaster feel the urge to keep the Commissioner happy and have to necessarily bring him in spotlight. Mr.Modi need no invitation to let go of opportunities such as those that immediately brings him into spotlight.People have probably forgotten that this concept is borrowed from England 20-20 by IMG and who submitted the proposal long back but was kept waiting till the ICL started. Its evident that , IPL doesnt need Modi to survive...so lets see who wins

  • SettingSun on April 16, 2010, 8:17 GMT

    I think that Cricinfo needs to be careful employing columnists who are directly linked to the IPL such as Bhogle. I like him and I think he is a personable, knowledgeable and entertaining commentator but I think his impartiality is bound to be compromised writing about a company that directly employs him. That said, this is still good in places before resorting to the expected pro-IPL gushing.

    By the way, I see the word 'charm' bandied around a lot in the comments and article relating to the league though - but what exactly is charming about this endless farrago?

  • GP143 on April 16, 2010, 7:52 GMT

    Its is sad to see these developments. As a die hard cricket fan, I am deeply disappointed. People might be having their own gains (either politically or financially) out of this ugly spat. As pointed out by Harsha, Spot- Fixing is there for everyone to see.Like evryone else, I too hope that cricket prevails. We love the game too much to entertain any mud on it.

  • phenom_007 on April 16, 2010, 7:29 GMT

    It would also be an utter hyperbole to put IPL and Stanford on the same pedestal. Stanford was only a whim of a man, who soon found himself behind the bars. He was just hell bent to flaunt his green bags. It lacked the most important ingredient, in the form of public support to make the recipe tick. On the other hand public euphoria is the most vital cog of the IPL's wheel; it's unprecedented to be precise. And I don't see it abating anytime soon. So, as long as it could captivate the mind of the common people and could keep them engaged, such fiasco would be no more than a minor tremor for the titanic monument like IPL. Whole world is watching, as was the case when they were in the awe about the money it churned out. IPL is very much akin to the new India, out of the box and bloody brilliant. Every possible step should be taken to make sure that the bug of corruption shouldn't eat into its fame and name.

  • Sanks555 on April 16, 2010, 6:54 GMT

    I don't see why so much attention is paid to the fact that local players are paying along side international players. For more than a century, the best players in the world spent half the year playing domestic cricket in England. I fail to see how that developed cricket in England.

    The best way to develop cricketing talent seems to be creating academies as Australia does.

    And as far as the quality of cricket in IPL is concerned, I think the Australian KFC Big Bash offers better cricket. That was reflected in last year's Champions League where both the two Australian team reached semifinals (and one of them won) while none of the IPL teams reached semi-finals.

  • on April 16, 2010, 5:19 GMT

    Tell us something new. We know you cant comment against Mr.Modi.

  • on April 16, 2010, 4:46 GMT

    I watch IPL more for the international flavour than indian. lets face it if IPL did not involve a single foreign player it would have been similar to the challenger trophy played between india A indiia B india C and may be in this case upto india H.And its nice to watch yougsters like sumans and tiwarys get some atttention. My fear is this IPLmight turn out to be a mere setup for something more sinister and nefarious.The initial signs are the stale commentary and crass commercial breaks. Now the shareholding pattern fiasco.When Big money is involved and there is no Big brother watching chances are there is more to it than meets the eye. Take this years auction for instance..mumbai indians reportedly paid more than twice to get keiron pollard and not a single dollar was going to the player. Hope this wont turn out to be another ICL or even worse another Satyam where one man used the Sofware empire as a mere SPV to warm to his land grabbing fetish i would say.

  • on April 16, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    I think Lalit Modi needs a break from IPL .. We need a new and clean person .. Similarly shashi tharoor and other politicians should be made out of cricket .. IPL is cricket not politics .. And finally Kochi team should be canceled .. There is lot of ambiguity in team and with animosity it has developed with IPL , I dont see kochi team to add value to IPL . We need to clean up system when its nascent .. else adult and ripe things are hard to change

  • Fanatic_cricko on April 16, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    Great Article Harsha. You deserve Kudos. You missed out the recent scandalous issues of disclosure of Kochi franchise owner. I think it is time to change the top management of IPL from a single dictator to a board of 3 person. Have a thought and write something more on it Faizul, Singapore

  • TheOnlyEmperor on April 16, 2010, 4:32 GMT

    With the media splashing "news" on the front page from supposed "insiders" on how the bids for the various franchises were perilously "close", with wink-wink insinuations enough to cause aspersions, the IPL has already been discredited. The politically motivated "raids" seeking info yesterday at the IPL offices have not helped at all. Shame! Unless, some 2 bit lawyer along with some 2 bit politician's backing DOESN'T decide to move the courts to derail/ block the IPL's proceedings and functioning in the form of a PIL ( which IMO is likely to happen knowing the Indian mindset), the game will go on ... past this speed breaker created by this political ruckus. The knives are out and the fangs bared as it were, to get Modi kicked out or at the least have his "wings clipped". This can't be good for IPL/cricket. Nobody in the BCCI is savvy or smart enuff to run the IPL on the scale & growth which has Modi has generated. What cannot grow will sadly degenerate and that's the truth!

  • rtom on April 16, 2010, 4:32 GMT

    Harsha, After a long time, u have written something meaningful !! i love the fact that the local players get teh chance to play with greats like Gilly, Gibbs, Tendulkar, Kumble, Dravid. But concern is to what extent the local players extend their talent to the longer version of the game. Example YPathan scored a centrury in 30 odd balls.. But that about other games ? Is he performing ?? Every team seem to have solved the mistery about him !!!:) just pitch a short ball and he gets out. Unfortunalty most of our so called promissign players are vulnarable to short pitch stuff !! Everybody thinks that 20-20 is a sloggers game.. but look at Tendulkar ( most of the innings in IPL3) and Dravid ( other day a 50 odd runs..).. they all filled with classic strokes !! no slogging !! Vijay's hundred... Take home message to all budding players from IPL is that if your technique is good, then u can survice whatever format of the game !!

  • RushiGadre on April 16, 2010, 4:25 GMT

    Well written Harsha!! Politics, corruption.scandal coming along with the IPL where hugh amount of money floats is inevitable and that's what happedned last week when the news started comming on front page instead of sports page.Strict norms need to be enforced to avoid the match/spot fixing in IPL, otherwise it won't take much time for people to lose interest in IPL, the way it happend with Indian cricket when Azhar,Jadega were found to be indulged in the match fixing.

  • on April 16, 2010, 4:24 GMT

    nice artical by Harsha, I agree with Harsha, don't make IPL lose its charm by doing bribery or one another, India is getting lots of appreciation from all over the world because of IPL, many players are coming out good not only for India and also other teams in the world.Just think of Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh, Dilshan, Uthappa, Tiwary, Ashwin, don't forget experienced guys like Kumble who has been the most economical bowler this year's IPL. By this everyone should understand that IPL is doing more good than bad, so people or money lovers don't make IPL lose it's charm...

  • siddhant_gupta on April 16, 2010, 4:13 GMT

    It's a very good article Harsha!!!!Exposure of local players to greats like Gilchrist, Symonds will help them when they turn up for india in a world cup final facing tough situation as they will remember the words the greats said "You belong here, so just back ur ability"!!!!!!!!!!!

  • on April 16, 2010, 4:03 GMT

    I watch IPL more for the international flavour than indian. lets face it if IPL did not involve a single foreign player it would have been similar to the challenger trophy played between india A indiia B india C and may be in this case upto india H.And its nice to watch yougsters like sumans and tiwarys get some atttention. My fear is this IPLmight turn out to be a mere setup for something more sinister and nefarious.The initial signs are the stale commentary and crass commercial breaks. Now the shareholding pattern fiasco.When Big money is involved and there is no Big brother watching chances are there is more to it than meets the eye. Take this years auction for instance..mumbai indians reportedly paid more than twice to get keiron pollard and not a single dollar was going to the player. Hope this wont turn out to be another ICL or even worse another Satyam where one man used the Sofware empire as a mere SPV to warm to his land grabbing fetish i would say.

  • anonym on April 16, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    A country which cannot save it's own high profile persons (e.g.,Benazir Bhutto), how can that country save the lives of cricketers ?

  • Sanjeevakki on April 16, 2010, 3:40 GMT

    Harsha Nice Article! Well Said Harsha........ There should not be conflict of Interest @ all in the First Place!!!! Why is that N Srinivasan the owner of CSK is in Govering Council of IPL and also a big wig in BCCI??? Either this person has to look after his IPL team or work as an Administrator in BCCI. I Hope this controversy will be over soon..... we should not make ourself as fool in the worl media...... Because every Tom , DICK and Harry around the world looking for a oppurtunity to critisize BCCI and IPL. IPL as Tournament been funtastic!!!! Have been ardent fan of JUMBO AND WALL. People Like ANil Kumble and Dravid should be in the Governing council of IPL(After retirement) and the two Unselfish Cricketer whom Indian People and Media doesnt give the respect which they deserve.......... Hope eveything will be setlled very soon!!!!!!!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Sanjeevakki on April 16, 2010, 3:40 GMT

    Harsha Nice Article! Well Said Harsha........ There should not be conflict of Interest @ all in the First Place!!!! Why is that N Srinivasan the owner of CSK is in Govering Council of IPL and also a big wig in BCCI??? Either this person has to look after his IPL team or work as an Administrator in BCCI. I Hope this controversy will be over soon..... we should not make ourself as fool in the worl media...... Because every Tom , DICK and Harry around the world looking for a oppurtunity to critisize BCCI and IPL. IPL as Tournament been funtastic!!!! Have been ardent fan of JUMBO AND WALL. People Like ANil Kumble and Dravid should be in the Governing council of IPL(After retirement) and the two Unselfish Cricketer whom Indian People and Media doesnt give the respect which they deserve.......... Hope eveything will be setlled very soon!!!!!!!

  • anonym on April 16, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    A country which cannot save it's own high profile persons (e.g.,Benazir Bhutto), how can that country save the lives of cricketers ?

  • on April 16, 2010, 4:03 GMT

    I watch IPL more for the international flavour than indian. lets face it if IPL did not involve a single foreign player it would have been similar to the challenger trophy played between india A indiia B india C and may be in this case upto india H.And its nice to watch yougsters like sumans and tiwarys get some atttention. My fear is this IPLmight turn out to be a mere setup for something more sinister and nefarious.The initial signs are the stale commentary and crass commercial breaks. Now the shareholding pattern fiasco.When Big money is involved and there is no Big brother watching chances are there is more to it than meets the eye. Take this years auction for instance..mumbai indians reportedly paid more than twice to get keiron pollard and not a single dollar was going to the player. Hope this wont turn out to be another ICL or even worse another Satyam where one man used the Sofware empire as a mere SPV to warm to his land grabbing fetish i would say.

  • siddhant_gupta on April 16, 2010, 4:13 GMT

    It's a very good article Harsha!!!!Exposure of local players to greats like Gilchrist, Symonds will help them when they turn up for india in a world cup final facing tough situation as they will remember the words the greats said "You belong here, so just back ur ability"!!!!!!!!!!!

  • on April 16, 2010, 4:24 GMT

    nice artical by Harsha, I agree with Harsha, don't make IPL lose its charm by doing bribery or one another, India is getting lots of appreciation from all over the world because of IPL, many players are coming out good not only for India and also other teams in the world.Just think of Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh, Dilshan, Uthappa, Tiwary, Ashwin, don't forget experienced guys like Kumble who has been the most economical bowler this year's IPL. By this everyone should understand that IPL is doing more good than bad, so people or money lovers don't make IPL lose it's charm...

  • RushiGadre on April 16, 2010, 4:25 GMT

    Well written Harsha!! Politics, corruption.scandal coming along with the IPL where hugh amount of money floats is inevitable and that's what happedned last week when the news started comming on front page instead of sports page.Strict norms need to be enforced to avoid the match/spot fixing in IPL, otherwise it won't take much time for people to lose interest in IPL, the way it happend with Indian cricket when Azhar,Jadega were found to be indulged in the match fixing.

  • rtom on April 16, 2010, 4:32 GMT

    Harsha, After a long time, u have written something meaningful !! i love the fact that the local players get teh chance to play with greats like Gilly, Gibbs, Tendulkar, Kumble, Dravid. But concern is to what extent the local players extend their talent to the longer version of the game. Example YPathan scored a centrury in 30 odd balls.. But that about other games ? Is he performing ?? Every team seem to have solved the mistery about him !!!:) just pitch a short ball and he gets out. Unfortunalty most of our so called promissign players are vulnarable to short pitch stuff !! Everybody thinks that 20-20 is a sloggers game.. but look at Tendulkar ( most of the innings in IPL3) and Dravid ( other day a 50 odd runs..).. they all filled with classic strokes !! no slogging !! Vijay's hundred... Take home message to all budding players from IPL is that if your technique is good, then u can survice whatever format of the game !!

  • TheOnlyEmperor on April 16, 2010, 4:32 GMT

    With the media splashing "news" on the front page from supposed "insiders" on how the bids for the various franchises were perilously "close", with wink-wink insinuations enough to cause aspersions, the IPL has already been discredited. The politically motivated "raids" seeking info yesterday at the IPL offices have not helped at all. Shame! Unless, some 2 bit lawyer along with some 2 bit politician's backing DOESN'T decide to move the courts to derail/ block the IPL's proceedings and functioning in the form of a PIL ( which IMO is likely to happen knowing the Indian mindset), the game will go on ... past this speed breaker created by this political ruckus. The knives are out and the fangs bared as it were, to get Modi kicked out or at the least have his "wings clipped". This can't be good for IPL/cricket. Nobody in the BCCI is savvy or smart enuff to run the IPL on the scale & growth which has Modi has generated. What cannot grow will sadly degenerate and that's the truth!

  • Fanatic_cricko on April 16, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    Great Article Harsha. You deserve Kudos. You missed out the recent scandalous issues of disclosure of Kochi franchise owner. I think it is time to change the top management of IPL from a single dictator to a board of 3 person. Have a thought and write something more on it Faizul, Singapore

  • on April 16, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    I think Lalit Modi needs a break from IPL .. We need a new and clean person .. Similarly shashi tharoor and other politicians should be made out of cricket .. IPL is cricket not politics .. And finally Kochi team should be canceled .. There is lot of ambiguity in team and with animosity it has developed with IPL , I dont see kochi team to add value to IPL . We need to clean up system when its nascent .. else adult and ripe things are hard to change