April 27, 2010

Why so surprised?

The IPL has always been a candidate for Enron-sized corruption. Modi operated with impunity, and Indian cricket laid itself open to becoming a vehicle for tax minimisation and money laundering
  shares 97

In the aftermath of the first final of the Indian Premier League, two years ago, its impresario, Lalit Modi, had no doubt what the event embodied. "It is a global representation of India," he argued, "and what the modern-day India stands for and its successes."

Right then, Modi is still pretty right now, except that how it represents India is assuredly rather different. In the heady days of that first tournament, it stood for India's vitality, imagination and economic heft; if even a tenth of the allegations aired in last few weeks are true, it shows the country at its corrupt and dysfunctional worst.

"What must you think of us in Australia?" emailed an Indian friend last week - an unanticipated role reversal, given the recent state of India-Australia relations. The good news, I assured him, is that we do little thinking here, at least in the sports pages. During the biggest cricket story in a decade, football-obsessed newspapers in my hometown have been delving in depth into such big issues as "Is Jonathan Brown as good as Wayne Carey?" and "The Return of the Power Forward".

A strapline in the Age last week shrieked of "Sport's Greatest Scandal", but it referred, horribile dictu, to a salary cap breach by the local rugby league team. "Sport's Greatest Scandal"? Dear God, it wasn't even sport's greatest scandal of the day. The IPL? Oh, there was some coverage when a bomb went off in Bangalore with all the force of a car backfiring and an Australian cricketer in the same postcode might have had his hair mussed or spilt his margarita, because that fit the cliché of violent, unpredictable, scary Asia; but when Indian turbo-capitalism meets Indian realpolitik, it's all a little esoteric for the average Australian sports editor - and they are so very average.

Yet here was a story that everyone should have seen coming. On the eve of the first tournament, I prophesised on the ABC's Offsiders that the IPL would be rocked within five years by a corruption scandal that would "knock Hansie Cronje into a cocked helmet". But that's not to claim great foresight. It simply stood to reason. Opaque finances, negligible regulation, a host of related party transactions, asset valuations plucked from thin air, an over-mighty chief executive, supine non-executive directors, politicians already with their hooks in - here, surely, was an Indian Enron in the making. To fail to grasp that you needed to be either ignorant or implicated - alas rather too many kiss-ass commentators and columnists were both.

Now, of course, they're all feigning outrage, like Captain Renault in Casablanca: "I am shocked, shocked, to find gambling going on this establishment."

"Get off the front page," read the headline on Harsha Bhogle's say-nothing column for Cricinfo. But why? The front page is an excellent discipline. Jamie Dimon, boss of JP Morgan Chase, the only American bank to come away from the global financial crisis with reputation enhanced, tells his staff they should undertake no financial transaction they wouldn't be happy to see described on the front page of the New York Times. And the front page is exactly where the IPL belongs.

The magic word is now transparency - transparency will apparently set us free. But transparency where? The owners are only one constituency. Will the commentators be forced to declare their interests? Will the journalists have to reveal their connections? Will the various state governments be compelled to divulge the extent of their subsidies to the IPL in the form of grounds, facilities and taxation relief? Will the state associations that compose the BCCI be required to lay open their finances to public scrutiny? Will the BCCI make its elections genuinely democratic?

The truth is that genuine transparency in the IPL has been impossible from the inception because of its adoption of a private ownership model. You know why they call it "private ownership"? Because it's private.

In fact, as Shashank Manohar reminded Modi when Modi tweeted the night away about the equity holders in the new Kochi franchise, conditions of confidentiality are integral to commercial transactions. You might not like it, but it is the way of business. And if business has imposed its values on IPL, that's only because it was invited, even entreated, to do so, in order that the maximum sums be extracted from the sale of franchises. Face it: the money changers aren't in the temple, they were sold the keys to the temple; and since then they have changed the locks.

Coverage of the story in India has dwelt in exhaustive detail on the money sluiced through numerous entities in Mauritius. Yet almost half of the foreign direct investment in India comes through Mauritius, because it has a double tax treaty with India and insignificant corporate tax rates, and members of the Indian elite also use it freely

Coverage of the story in India has dwelt in exhaustive detail on the money sluiced through numerous entities in Mauritius. Yet almost half of the foreign direct investment in India comes through Mauritius, because it has a double tax treaty with India and insignificant corporate tax rates, and members of the Indian elite also use it freely, clearly subscribing to the view of the New York property diva Leona Helmsley, that "only little people pay tax". And even if more exacting disclosure requirements were introduced, they would be facile to avoid: throw enough investment bankers, corporate lawyers and tax accountants at a corporate structure and any trace of beneficial ownership can be effaced. In pursuing its franchise dream, then, Indian cricket laid itself open to becoming a vehicle for tax minimisation and money laundering. This just took longer to dawn on some people than others.

Why? This, perhaps, is the most intriguing question of all. The IPL exercised strict controls over its coverage, suborning some, excluding others, demanding an atmosphere of constant celebration, deriding doubters as rheumy-eyed romantics. Modi moved fast - faster, sometimes, than the eye could see. He was the chairman of the IPL's 14-member governing council, but came to be called the "IPL commissioner", in imitation of that role in American professional sport. The distinction was more than semantic. A chairman implies consultation; "commissioner" implies… well… committing, which Modi clearly did, to a fault. Courtiers as considerable as Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar competed to praise him. Possible party poopers, like the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit, were held at arm's length. No wonder Modi operated in an atmosphere of impunity. And no wonder rumour and innuendo accumulated around the IPL when it showed so little interest in giving a proper account of itself.

Modi's modus operandi was to keep doubling the bets in his own charisma, and indeed, the story of his triumph enjoyed widespread appeal. Here was the personification of India Shining, bringing moolah and market forces to a game that, so the story went, had previously languished in the dead hands of Anglo-Australian overlords. In fact, India has been the most significant force in global cricket for a decade, but until the IPL, may have kept that fact from itself; the league became an annual celebration of that development for Modi's countrymen and a few well-paid guests. About its second- and third-order effects on cricket, the impact on other countries... well, who cared? They were having fun. And how could all those DLF Maximums and Citi Moments of Success be wrong?

Sambit Bal may be right that this is a scandal the IPL needed. It certainly brings fans face-to-face with the tangled reality of their amusement, based as it is on a self-seeking, self-perpetuating commercial oligarchy issued licenses to exploit cricket as they please. Whether the fans care is another matter: one of the reasons Indians have embraced economic liberalisation so fervently is a shoulder-shrugging resignation about the efficiency and integrity of their institutions. Given the choice between Lalit Modi, with his snappy suits and his soi-disant "Indian People's League", and the BCCI, stuffed with grandstanding politicians and crony capitalists, where would your loyalties lie?

And if Modi is toast, it will in one sense be a tremendous pity. In his way, he represents a third generation in cricket's governance. For a hundred years and more, cricket was run by administrators, who essentially maintained the game without going out of their way to develop it. More recently it has been run by managers, with just an ounce or two of strategic thought. Modi was neither; he was instead a genuine entrepreneur. He has as much feeling for cricket as Madonna has for madrigals, but perhaps, because he came from outside cricket's traditional bureaucratic circles, he brought a vision and a common touch unexampled since Kerry Packer. It's arguable, in fact, that the more culpable in this affair are the likes of Sharad Pawar and Inderjit Bindra, allegedly wise heads who pandered to Modi's ego and ambition because it suited their particular purposes. The clock is now ticking for the fourth IPL. It may look quite different to the third - indeed, it had better.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer. This article first appeared in the May issue of Seriously Cricket Chronicles.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on April 29, 2010, 19:27 GMT

    My indians friends should not take this IPL issue personally. There was a built-in contradiction which most of us were unaware of. That politicians, BCCI office bearers were allowed to invest in IPL. Now in the next edition of IPL, new by-laws can be made eliminating such built-in destructive element(s). We all thought Shalpa Seethi has shares in the ownership of Rajisthan Royals, but she has now claimed it to be untrue; and that she was merely brand ambassador. Doesn't it tell you that something seriously immoral going on behind the scenes? Every crises is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to fix it up. Grab it immediately or ICC will take over it. First step is to come up with a proper and accurate diagnose. Choice is yours.

  • HP_75 on April 29, 2010, 8:47 GMT

    contd.) And if the IPL represents the Devil (based on your rants over 2 years), then the Australian establishment and players have gladly been sleeping with the Devil via either the IPL or The Champions League. And those Indian readers who think Gideon is simply being an objective outsider, ask yourself - why has he never written a critique of the ACB's and ECB's complicity with Modi in the Champions League - which was established by the same forces, and funding, as the IPL? Why has he never questioned the Kolpak system which exploits the social policies of SA, to shore up the English cricket team? Why has he never targeted County Cricket for draining away resources from smaller nations (recent eg. of Iain O'brien from NZ)? Why has he never impugned the ECB & ACB (also rich & powerful) for launching their own T20 IPL-wannabes (Big Bash, T20 Cup) which also increase player workload and create another monetary incentive to turn player focus away from Test cricket?

  • Mantan on April 29, 2010, 5:08 GMT

    Got it dead right Gideon. I think its time that ICC stops being afraid of BCCI financial power and take control of this corrupt elephant.

  • Spinoza on April 29, 2010, 3:13 GMT

    Lalit Modi will be back. His suspension is an eyewash. He is a mart businessman - he will have ensured that all who kept quiet were being paid. His suspension is a political sop to opposition parties. It will be prearranged that in return for his silence about his supposed detractors he will be benched for a period of time. All his explanations will be accepted and he will be reinstated. The people in power need to show that they have done due diligence on him. After things have quietened down he will be back. He is to much of a golden goose to be killed in a hurry,

  • krrish001 on April 29, 2010, 2:50 GMT

    Gideon; don't know if you actually care about all these personal attacks against you! I am pretty sure that you are enjoying it and having a blast. I never had high opinion about your comments. But in this article what you said is mostly right. Except of course, as some of the readers pointed out, the Enron comparison is not a correct one. But above all I congratulate you in calling a spade a spade, calling Harsha Bhogle, SMG and Ravi what they actually are. Harsha pretending that he never knew about anything wrong after all this and trying to sell it to us cricinfo itself, what a sham!!! And SMG and Ravi, you have done your service for cricket, now take rest, let somebody else pick up the Indian commentary from you, Sanjay, Arun and Aakash might be a good start.

  • wassim877 on April 29, 2010, 0:38 GMT

    Finally we have an author who has the courage to talk about the issues that are affecting Indian cricket rather than the usual "sugar coated" Op Eds we get from some of the other cricket writers. I find it hard to believe that quiet a few Indians are upset by the tone of the article, rather they should be grateful to the author for questioning standard practices and not letting things rot as they were. We (Indians) it seems have no problems in dishing out criticism when it comes to other countries but we find it hard to swallow when others pin point our faults. If India really wants to be taken seriously in the world we need to be a lot more mature in accepting responsibility that our systems does have defects and that they need to be corrected rather than whining about past injustices. Just because corruption exists in the western world does not justify it occurring in India and I do appeal to all my fellow country men to accept the ground reality and not live in a fool's paradise.

  • on April 28, 2010, 23:18 GMT

    This shows that the days of the IPL are numbered.

  • ajayhr on April 28, 2010, 23:15 GMT

    Mr Haigh, its clear from all of your articles how much you hate the Indian monopoly in cricket. Well, FYI - We're here to stay and rule!

  • kiranksl on April 28, 2010, 22:39 GMT

    "one of the reasons Indians have embraced economic liberalisation so fervently is a shoulder-shrugging resignation about the efficiency and integrity of their institutions."

    I'm convinced this guy knows what he is talking about...and yes I'm an Indian. Look at the comment made by 'thatsy'...its because of people like this that India will probably never come out of its corrupt culture (and now a corrupt corporate culture).

  • kiranksl on April 28, 2010, 22:38 GMT

    "one of the reasons Indians have embraced economic liberalisation so fervently is a shoulder-shrugging resignation about the efficiency and integrity of their institutions."

    I'm convinced this guy knows what he is talking about...and yes I'm an Indian. Look at the comment made by 'thatsy'...its because of people like this that India will probably never come out of its corrupt culture (and now a corrupt corporate culture).

  • on April 29, 2010, 19:27 GMT

    My indians friends should not take this IPL issue personally. There was a built-in contradiction which most of us were unaware of. That politicians, BCCI office bearers were allowed to invest in IPL. Now in the next edition of IPL, new by-laws can be made eliminating such built-in destructive element(s). We all thought Shalpa Seethi has shares in the ownership of Rajisthan Royals, but she has now claimed it to be untrue; and that she was merely brand ambassador. Doesn't it tell you that something seriously immoral going on behind the scenes? Every crises is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to fix it up. Grab it immediately or ICC will take over it. First step is to come up with a proper and accurate diagnose. Choice is yours.

  • HP_75 on April 29, 2010, 8:47 GMT

    contd.) And if the IPL represents the Devil (based on your rants over 2 years), then the Australian establishment and players have gladly been sleeping with the Devil via either the IPL or The Champions League. And those Indian readers who think Gideon is simply being an objective outsider, ask yourself - why has he never written a critique of the ACB's and ECB's complicity with Modi in the Champions League - which was established by the same forces, and funding, as the IPL? Why has he never questioned the Kolpak system which exploits the social policies of SA, to shore up the English cricket team? Why has he never targeted County Cricket for draining away resources from smaller nations (recent eg. of Iain O'brien from NZ)? Why has he never impugned the ECB & ACB (also rich & powerful) for launching their own T20 IPL-wannabes (Big Bash, T20 Cup) which also increase player workload and create another monetary incentive to turn player focus away from Test cricket?

  • Mantan on April 29, 2010, 5:08 GMT

    Got it dead right Gideon. I think its time that ICC stops being afraid of BCCI financial power and take control of this corrupt elephant.

  • Spinoza on April 29, 2010, 3:13 GMT

    Lalit Modi will be back. His suspension is an eyewash. He is a mart businessman - he will have ensured that all who kept quiet were being paid. His suspension is a political sop to opposition parties. It will be prearranged that in return for his silence about his supposed detractors he will be benched for a period of time. All his explanations will be accepted and he will be reinstated. The people in power need to show that they have done due diligence on him. After things have quietened down he will be back. He is to much of a golden goose to be killed in a hurry,

  • krrish001 on April 29, 2010, 2:50 GMT

    Gideon; don't know if you actually care about all these personal attacks against you! I am pretty sure that you are enjoying it and having a blast. I never had high opinion about your comments. But in this article what you said is mostly right. Except of course, as some of the readers pointed out, the Enron comparison is not a correct one. But above all I congratulate you in calling a spade a spade, calling Harsha Bhogle, SMG and Ravi what they actually are. Harsha pretending that he never knew about anything wrong after all this and trying to sell it to us cricinfo itself, what a sham!!! And SMG and Ravi, you have done your service for cricket, now take rest, let somebody else pick up the Indian commentary from you, Sanjay, Arun and Aakash might be a good start.

  • wassim877 on April 29, 2010, 0:38 GMT

    Finally we have an author who has the courage to talk about the issues that are affecting Indian cricket rather than the usual "sugar coated" Op Eds we get from some of the other cricket writers. I find it hard to believe that quiet a few Indians are upset by the tone of the article, rather they should be grateful to the author for questioning standard practices and not letting things rot as they were. We (Indians) it seems have no problems in dishing out criticism when it comes to other countries but we find it hard to swallow when others pin point our faults. If India really wants to be taken seriously in the world we need to be a lot more mature in accepting responsibility that our systems does have defects and that they need to be corrected rather than whining about past injustices. Just because corruption exists in the western world does not justify it occurring in India and I do appeal to all my fellow country men to accept the ground reality and not live in a fool's paradise.

  • on April 28, 2010, 23:18 GMT

    This shows that the days of the IPL are numbered.

  • ajayhr on April 28, 2010, 23:15 GMT

    Mr Haigh, its clear from all of your articles how much you hate the Indian monopoly in cricket. Well, FYI - We're here to stay and rule!

  • kiranksl on April 28, 2010, 22:39 GMT

    "one of the reasons Indians have embraced economic liberalisation so fervently is a shoulder-shrugging resignation about the efficiency and integrity of their institutions."

    I'm convinced this guy knows what he is talking about...and yes I'm an Indian. Look at the comment made by 'thatsy'...its because of people like this that India will probably never come out of its corrupt culture (and now a corrupt corporate culture).

  • kiranksl on April 28, 2010, 22:38 GMT

    "one of the reasons Indians have embraced economic liberalisation so fervently is a shoulder-shrugging resignation about the efficiency and integrity of their institutions."

    I'm convinced this guy knows what he is talking about...and yes I'm an Indian. Look at the comment made by 'thatsy'...its because of people like this that India will probably never come out of its corrupt culture (and now a corrupt corporate culture).

  • East_West on April 28, 2010, 20:34 GMT

    Excellent Read Mr Haigh! Paddy Mohan: wow! you sure know how to write trash! Based on your pads/loads of makeup on your face, I can say that you want to be someone that you are not! I don't know where you live and unload now! May be your upbringing by Indian parents showed how chauvinistic your family is/was and Instead of putting effort in painting your face, educate yourself, I bet you will have better schools wherever you live NOW!! hmm!! you must be still carrying that FAIR&LOVELY from INDIA!! Thank God that you left India, Mr Hypocrite!

  • Cast_Iron_Head on April 28, 2010, 20:31 GMT

    I agree with some of the points raised by the author here BUT I lost the point of the article amidst all the self congratulatory gloating and tiresome rants against all authors (really are you the only sane one? all your colleagues in Australia and India totally blind and incompetent?) What was the point of the article since I do not see a single constructive suggestion (however laughable it may have been)? If you would have presented the facts correctly I would have seen some reporting merit in it. Was it a bomb explosion or a firecracker in Bangalore? IPL3 did not have the ICC anti corruption on board, really? Enron really? Others have already pointed to your previous articles.The allegations should be presented as allegations not trumpeted as facts. Your intellectual dishonesty and/or laziness would have been amusing if it was not widely published by this respected publication. Lets not mistake cricket writing with emotional and irrational diatribes of disgruntled 'writers'.

  • Ajayvs on April 28, 2010, 20:07 GMT

    Ok Gideon Haigh, we have our fallacies. We will learn and rise again.IPL has never been and will never will be true barometer of Indian entrepreneurship. As a nation we have made rapid strides in last few years. We are on the right path and will be a major global player soon. Hopefully in a few years from now we will prove our detractors like Paddy_Mohan wrong. By the way are the Aussies and Poms abstaining from corrupt IPL next year??

  • crncy1by2 on April 28, 2010, 19:56 GMT

    all i can say is...bring back Kapil Dev!

  • on April 28, 2010, 18:22 GMT

    I think Modi--will all the ills of his personality--is more a scapegoat. The things would continue to be run in the same manner as before but rather sophisticated and diplomatic way.

    Sometimes issues have both a legal side and also a moral side. He lost its moral authority on the day he successfully pulled the Pakistani cricketers outside the tournament. Since then he was unacceptable figure for the global cricket community. All these allegations has now sealed his future.

    One question is that whether all these allegation would made their way in the press had he not took on the politicians? I think, not at all.

  • Go_F.Alonso on April 28, 2010, 17:17 GMT

    As an average IPL watcher, I don't care whether or not it is corrupt. I just hope the matches aren't fixed and even if they were, I'd prefer if they didn't come out. So some people made money. Who cares and more importantly - given an opportunity - who wouldn't? It is for the Govt to keep a tab on it. If the BCCI fed the Govt officials well enough, we wouldn't have had to see this dirty linen in public. Denying corruption exists in India is like closing your eyes declaring the world is dark. But, it is exactly the case world over. Australia, UK, USA - none are an expection to this.

  • on April 28, 2010, 16:49 GMT

    Superb article in parts,Gideon

    Well i dont think any indian journalist esp on cricinfo has mentioned the below things..and i dont even want to talk about mr.Bhogle's where he said Anil Kumble should be part of a cleanup committee(conflict of interest anybody?)

    1)The IPL exercised strict controls over its coverage, suborning some, excluding others, demanding an atmosphere of constant celebration, deriding doubters as rheumy-eyed romantics 2)the money changers aren't in the temple, they were sold the keys to the temple; and since then they have changed the locks. 3)Courtiers as considerable as Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar competed to praise him. Scandals like these usually look for Fall Guys to shove everything else under the carpet..i am not saying Modi is innocent.. i am saying he is not alone.all those gigglers like shastris and gavaskars and the rest of the gov council..what were they doing?everyone overawed by the phenomenon? IPL-3 is done and this scandal wil be dusted soon

  • SachinIsTheGreatest on April 28, 2010, 15:22 GMT

    True_Indian_Fan, ah but you forget that when the words BCCI-IPL-Modi-Controversy are heard in one breath somewhere, Haigh had to come crawling out of woodwork! He is your enlightened West which tells the East of the dangers of capitalism while trying their best to blow a larger hole through the ozone layer or extincting species(WTH, even humans)!!

  • TiedTestMatch on April 28, 2010, 15:07 GMT

    Gideon - Well written. It is time some body at Cricinfo showed the courage to call it as it is. I am an Indian - to clarify for the many of the thoughtless patriots commenting here. I expected an Indian author (take your pick) to comment the way you did. But I fear their loyalties to calling a spade a spade are threatened by the people who run Indian cricket. The breadth and the depth of your article is impressive because much of India (and fans of Indian cricket) are led to believe that it was ONLY Lalit Modi behind the cesspool of IPL. When in reality Lalit was the willing face of the wrong doing. Co-perpetrators are walking clean knowing well that they are well connected in politics.

    India - where hundreds of millions go hungry - has an agriculture minister who somehow finds time to run national cricket (and now ICC) too. I am sure for most of us, our employers would likely discourage a second position. This is the evil face of Indian politics

  • long_handle9 on April 28, 2010, 14:54 GMT

    I'm Pakistani and I have no love for IPL/Modi although I think it's unfair that all the blame has been dumped on him. Now maybe he knows what Cairns felt like. HOWEVER Gideon's article is pretty patronizing and horrendously smug, even if he makes a few good points. And Canadian123--are you serious? Do you honestly believe that a subcontinent-descended Australian cricketer would be ATTACKED? Perhaps one of the most insane comments I've ever read. You tool--Australians are nationalist but they're not racist. Even if a pathetic player like Sreesanth were playing for them they'd back him to the hilt. What about India? Building up your players and when they fail stoning their houses. Please, for once stop pointing fingers and take a long hard look in the mirror

  • Afta on April 28, 2010, 14:44 GMT

    A fine independent analytical view of the IPL by GH. It is surely a private Corporate company. Profitability is its motive. Therefore, why should there be transparancy? Give credit to the man who ran it exactly the way corporations are run. The clever investors made money and the dumb fans were entertained - bottom line. A ruthless system and a world we live in. May be Modi grew too fast for his shoes, a sense of arrogance or greed, only he will know. But the people who created, supported, praised and rallied around him all along deserted him at crunch time. A lot of skeletons and a lot to hide. Aren't they guilty as much as Modi?

  • on April 28, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    I dont understand why so many Indians cant accept this article. India ranks in the bottom of the list of countries with least corruption (courtesy: Transparency International) But all you guys are saying India is a "transparent" and "well developed" country is it? Come on folks, I am Indian and lived 24 years of my life there. Every single day there is a news headline screaming about corruption in India. Almost every rich and influential person abuses his/her power. Even all of you would have discussed these issues among your friends or family. But just because the author is an Aussie, you people cant take it. Reality is India is a worst place, fully corrupt, perhaps the reason why so many of you Indians living abroad ( and defending India in this page) never return to India. By the way, I am an Indian, who is not a chauvinist, nor a hypocrite.

  • curryinbrisbane on April 28, 2010, 13:49 GMT

    @ No_Excuses - Matey, you must be daft to think of anyone leaving AFL or NRL to pursue cricket, IPL at that! In the aftermath of the salary rorting by Melbourne Storms (Yes, there are scandals even in Australia), I might tend to agree that even though footy and rugby look like they have taken a beating, no sane full bodied Aussie is going to chuck round balls over odd shaped ones. Maybe Michael Clarke would not do IPL, but then he was always a wimp getting bingled by Fevola. Look where it landed him, he's been quoted today that he would love to have an opportunity to play for IPL in the future. That leaves Ponting whose ego is bigger than Tasmania, Qld, NSW and Victoria put together. I wonder if according to you, Dougie, Harris, Hussey, Davie are not top Aussie players? Get a grip that IPL provided a good practice for the World T20 although it did not stop Zimbabwe winning by one run ...

  • jay57870 on April 28, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    The cricket historian Haigh is wrong about the Enron analogy. Bankrupt Enron is dead: it destroyed many livelihoods and robbed people of their savings. IPL is very much alive: it's provided real opportunities for many cricketers and related staff, foreigners included. Its ripple effect on the economy has been positive. Further, the prophet Haigh is prematurely judgmental when he charges "if even a tenth of the allegations aired in last few weeks are true, it shows the country at its corrupt and dysfunctional worst." Really? I say let due process run its course and the proper authorities pass judgment. Yes, the IPL mess is an embarrassing situation, which should be judged by the magnitude and proportionality of its impact. Yes, the Stanford scam was an embarrassment for the ECB; as was the Rio Tinto bribery scandal for the British-Australian firm. Each case ran its own course. The accused were booked. So be it with IPL. Let's not accuse an entire nation. That's irresponsible journalism.

  • Zahidsaltin on April 28, 2010, 13:21 GMT

    You all can go on fighting Aus-indian war of words related to cricket and racism but I can tell you that for me IPL isn't more than WWF in tv. Thousands of crors on bets, Even when Chennai is seemed losing after first 10 overs, bookies don't want to take bets on chennai, all the mess where its about billions of dollars going unaccounted for tells a hell of the story. All is fixed, all is planned, all is going to the wrong pockets and no one cared for 3 years. Nothing is gonna change as bookies are too strong for the system to do anything. India has destroyed world cricket as in every sigle case its indian bookies who are involved, be it Cronie, saleem Malik or Warne. One repport says all senior indian players are involved in pressurizing younger local players to do the job for bookies. So all these young talent is going to be corrupt for times to come.....

  • jamrith on April 28, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    I too am an Indian, and I agree 100% with Gideon Haigh. We Indians, perhaps best embodied in the anodyne-laced articles by that mediocre commentator Harsha Bhogle, have for too long thought that as long as the headlines trumpet the big picture, the dirty underbelly of the country will be ignored. Not any more, the IPL is completely corrupt and the allegations of match-fixing can not be ignored. In fact, should India be allowed to play at all in international tornamnets when its cricket is so tainted ? A moot question perhaps, because in all likelihood, India will be knocked out in the first round of the ICC T20. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Cinderella-nation Afghanistan could give India its come-uppance.

  • on April 28, 2010, 10:16 GMT

    The Indian Premier League (IPL) may be the biggest and brashest tournament cricket has ever seen, but the alleged behind the scenes financial irregularities may end up seeing India as the real loser,India has 1.2 billion people, many of them crazy about cricket. Most are growing wealthier and the number who can afford to buy satellite TV subscriptions and replica shirts is growing. More than that, for many Indians, the IPL is an emblem of their aspirations and proof of how the epicenter of the global economy is shifting East. It is also a symbol of what they believe India is destined to become: a true global power. In short, the IPL was an icon of a "New India" - one that was supposed to have shed the corruption, nepotism, cronyism and political patronage of the past.

  • mohankrish on April 28, 2010, 9:57 GMT

    Good article. Unfortunately, most Indians will get stuck into the author because (a) He has has declared his cards as as person who is an IPL-hater, Modi-hater and India-suspicions way back, (b) He has often provided the perception that the only cricket that ought to matter in the cricket world is The Ashes, (c) Indians generally only like dishing out criticism and do not take kindly to being criticised themselves. That said, this article is spot on. Governance in public office in India is just awful. That needs to be said! Most Indians react to criticism with either a "It is nothing different to what happens elsewhere" or "The problem is too hard to fix"! The fact that it happens elsewhere in the world has got to do with the price of fish in India! It might be hard to fix! But to stay "mum" suggests the bigger crime of "complicit tolerance".

  • Canadian123 on April 28, 2010, 9:33 GMT

    Wow! Gideon Haigh. What a great insightful article about corruption in the Indian system. Now, I suggest you, the self proclaimed historian, to research, explore and present the facts about a nagging question I have had since the days I am following cricket. Why, of all the cricket playing nations in the world that allow immigrants, do I not find a single south asian descendant playing/played for AUSTRALIA? Is it fair to conclude that either the immigrant don't play cricket at all or probably fear of being attacked/killed?

  • True_Indian_Fan on April 28, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    "if even a tenth of the allegations aired in last few weeks are true, it shows the country at its corrupt and dysfunctional worst." What the hell ?? How could cricinfo even publish this highly biased / racist article? How could corruption in one organization(that too, merely allegations) reflect a country? In that case, Australia with the recent racist(screw-driver)attacks on students just about reflects the whole country including this writer. Even if this glaring mistake is set aside, the article is heavily one-dimensional, totally biased, nothing but rubbish!!

  • dekku on April 28, 2010, 6:52 GMT

    I'm Indian and irrespective of what one thinks of Gideon Haigh, what he has written makes absolute sense. Modi for a most of it was bigger and more important than cricket and the cricketers. That is just bizarre. Its the olympians that win the medals and its the footballers that win the world cup. Adminstrators get their compensation through salaries and bonuses for a job well done. Sponsors get their rewards through return on investments. But here was Modi standing equivalent to Dhoni and Pollard and believing that he had just hit Chetan Sharma for last ball six (Pakistani's will love me for this). If proven, then what Modi has done is a seriouis crime and he's has to be locked up. And Sunny G and Shastri just have to go behind bars as well. Its no different from scams in corporate America where CEOs and Auditors go to prison for fraud and negligence respectively.

  • greasedMONKEY on April 28, 2010, 6:33 GMT

    I really don't why some people seem to bring up the "race card" and the attack on Indian students in an article which deals with corruption and a total lack of ethics in the IPL. Is it just because the author is an Australian that some people seem fit to bring these issues up ?? It shows the level of immaturity of some of the readers. I am absolutely positive that Gideon would want a successful IPL just as much as any other Indian or else he would not be writing about it. In fact he is doing Indian cricket fans a favor by questioning the standard practices, analyzing what all was wrong with the way the IPL was run and how to prevent such things from happening on the future!

    If India really wants to be a superpower and if the IPL is truly aspiring to be a global league (which it clearly inst at this stage), it needs massive amounts of reforms for the league to be taken seriously in Europe/America/Africa etc. These scandals only lower its reputation and only confines its status to India

  • gujjubhayya on April 28, 2010, 6:05 GMT

    I do agree with the author's view that this corruption scandal was definitely in the making especially in regards to the limited role of the anti-corruption unit in IPL3. I also don't understand why so many Indians seem to be infuriated with what the author brought up as he is merely stating the obvious. Rather than claiming the "holier than you" attitude we need to recognize the malaise we are facing in our country rather than deflecting any criticism by pointing out decencies in other countries. It needed an ausssie to finally call a spade, a spade as no Indian journalist seems interested in tackling these issues.

    On the other hand I do sincerely pray and hope that reforms are brought into the league and all the allegations are fully investigated rather than being swept under the carpet as is normally the case.

  • Rahul_78 on April 28, 2010, 4:51 GMT

    Good to get a neutral point ofview. Agreed IPL has become a cesspit of money, power, ego and politics but something good has also came out of it. Thousands who r assosiated with it r earning money. Domestic players b in india or autralia cld dream of making it big if they have talent without geting selected for international sides. Some really good and compatative cricket has been played. When big businessmen come to invest billions there bound to be some dirt which is going to fly. U tell me gideaon which entity b it in usa or aus or anywhere in the world with estimated values of billions has used 100% pure white money? Agreed modi has been like a hitler in contemporary cricket but he has created a empire which others cld only dream of. Make no mistakes he ll pay for his sins sooner then later but we have to take the IPL with pich of salt. As long as cricket has been pure and unadultarated by match fixing i dont mind. Thank god for sachin and kumbles of our world, I hv trust in them.

  • No_Excuses on April 28, 2010, 4:31 GMT

    We got it the first time Gideon - you don't like the IPL. While, like you, I much prefer the longer forms of the game I am happy to watch the hit and giggle that is the IPL. Do you really care if Indian corporations or individuals use the IPL to evade or avoid tax, engage in various dubious business practices or are happy to pay obscene amounts of money for franchises which can never possibly make a profit? Leave it to the Indians to sort out (and comment on). Despite the poor standard (see CL) and overt commercialisation there are a lot of benefits for us Aussies. We can offer young players like Mitch Marsh a career path that may include the soft money of the IPL (probably helped in the decision to not pursue AFL), fringe national players can top up their earnings in the IPL and we can pension off disgruntled or disturbed players like Hodge and Symonds with little fanfare. Increasingly all the top Aussie players are opting out of the IPL so there is nothing to worry about.

  • VipulPatki on April 28, 2010, 4:27 GMT

    I read this article again and again. While most of the points raised are valid and this scandal was on the cards, I feel that Gideon's tone was that of gloating. His anti-India stance is becoming increasingly obvious. While each person is entitled to his own prejudices, it is wrong to criticise your colleague just because he refuses to pass a premature judgement. His criticism of Bhogle was atrocious. Also, when was the last time a major scandal anywhere in this world was pursued to its end and guilty brought to book??

  • TheOnlyEmperor on April 28, 2010, 4:26 GMT

    If the Aussies feel the compulsive need to sledge to be competitive in sport, then it speaks volumes of how "grown up" they are as a society. And then : "if even a tenth of the allegations aired in last few weeks are true, it shows the country at its corrupt and dysfunctional worst. " - Gideon, does that barometer hold true for Australia too given the tons of racist attacks on Indian students, who pay good money to study in Australia? That said, Gideon must remember what he writes : "The good news, I assured him, is that we do little thinking here, at least in the sports pages." It appears, that it's not restricted to the sports pages at all!

  • CricEshwar on April 28, 2010, 4:15 GMT

    If the scandal hardly made a news and not even be considered scandal of the day, what made you write this huge an article. Nothing has been revealed, no one has been proven guilty except for daily a new speculation from Indian media (which of course functions like any other), you sound like you know this thing from day one. You know what, you sound like Indian media to me. Everyone who's raising their voice on how IPL could have functioned, doesn't even know how it functioned. When asked about how this scandal is taken in Australia, you were saying 'Oh we didn't give a bother about IPL, there were other big things about some footballers, some body's hair etc', you could have just 'well, we were not very interested/concerned/bothered about IPL' which has gone on to show your desperation to being heard and to sound cool, and something else coming out of you against the celebrated tournament.

  • mac9ue on April 28, 2010, 2:47 GMT

    If nothing else, the title of your article is quite precise, Mr. Haigh. No one in India is surprised by the corruption in IPL. So for all the claims of foresight in your article, it is merely stating the obvious. We realize it is an evil of our society, but where is it not? Do you think money laundering, tax evasion and corrupt politicians are not prevalent in the developed world? In the last few years of Wall Street scandals and Halliburton contracts .... were you actually reading any of the NYTimes front pages your article so lauds? "India Shining" is a very real economic phenomenon and not something we'd expect to be lectured on by a cricket historian. A cricket tournament tells you so much about our entire nation? Can we not have our 3-hour evening entertainment without being portrayed as uncivilized paupers sitting atop bombs who cannot run a proper country? Or maybe, the disconnect of the IPL's success with that portrayal is precisely the axe your journalism is grinding.

  • anandana on April 28, 2010, 0:56 GMT

    @AlokJoshi - very well said - comparing IPL to the Enron scandal clearly shows that Gideon has not done his homework or even did the minimum reading in that subject. May be he too is busy figuring out big issues such as "Jonathan Brown vs Wayne Carey". Clearly Modi and IPL were at fault on several financial fronts which are being probed and will be addressed in the appropriate manner befitting a democratic government. And yes, cricket will emerge stronger. Looking forward to an India vs Aus test series in the near future. Hopefully we can chose a venue where you dont have to worry about a car bomb going off or "curry bashing" - As some one said, clean your house first.

  • amit75 on April 28, 2010, 0:25 GMT

    Loved it, great article! TG I'll not have to see Modi's almighty attitude on TV and not hear those DLF maximums, citi moment of success and MRF blimp until next year or may be never - who knows!!!

  • on April 27, 2010, 22:33 GMT

    This site is beginning to become what Fox News is to Tea Baggers, with IPL being equivalent of Health Care Reform. See, if you feign outrage and you have bullypupit then there is a chance that you will appeal so a disgruntled few who would vent with you without even having a basic understanding of the issue.

    It is surprising that some of Indian fans, in their desire to accommodate a point of view are cutting this author unreasonable slack. The man is intellectually dishonest and has no honor. Only a disgruntled opportunist like this author will stoop to the level of tainting his own colleague, Harsha Bhogle, just to score a point.

    Strange thing is other Indians who are employed by the cricinfo do not have the backbone to call Haigh out on his unreasonable rants. I simply cannot understand is the reason for their slavish behavior.

  • knowledge_eater on April 27, 2010, 22:08 GMT

    I would have been your biggest fan, if you would have allowed my comment, but I think I may have crossed the limit. Ok what should be the solution of this ? Ohh yes.. let's shut down whole IPL and Gideon Haigh will fund everyone who lost their job, due to shut down of IPL. I will put you on my favorite fan page. Forget that, let me wait for an article where some genius explains how to fund cricket. I am eagerly waiting for it. Also, I don't think I am surprised to see this IPL mess, actually no-one is. In fact, let me tell you secret, everyone in India (media, politicians) were waiting for something to happen. Now, you know what's happening, everyone is ready with their drill machines, take out what ever you can. Here is the million $ question: Gideon H. is very hard working writer, does lot of research before publishing, and he is courageous to talk against Modi/IPL, but Was anyone else as courageous as Modi to put IPL/Indian cricket on Map ? I don't even want to mention Dirk Nannes!

  • Sharath.Komarraju on April 27, 2010, 21:55 GMT

    Just to continue from my last comment, what was the purpose of the rant about the Australian editors and their view of what a 'reportable' story is? What was the purpose of calling Harsha Bhogle's column 'say-nothing'? Your article comes across as emotional chest-beating more than rational analysis, Gideon. But chest-beating about what? You're saying that you predicted the IPL will be involved in a scandal that would rival Cronje's. This not one such. You're saying you predicted the IPL is an Indian Enron, which it is not. So your smug 'I told you so' about the things you said years ago which have NOT come to pass, is again, a little confusing (not to mention amusing). And lastly, as a general comment about India being impervious and defensive against criticism, I'd like to venture that Indians are actually diametrically opposite to that. If anything, we care a little TOO much about what people think about us. The fact that I am commenting at such length on your piece supports that.

  • Alexk400 on April 27, 2010, 21:05 GMT

    OH OH lost of N srinivasan fans here in cricinfo ? hahaha. I suspected my comments on N srinivasan never showed up.

    Oh well , Lalit modi is da man still even without a crown.

    BCCI will run IPL to ground in few years unless Modi is back and N srinivasan gets ousted and Ac muthiah is back in TNCA. :)

  • cricster67 on April 27, 2010, 19:06 GMT

    @Lucy - Indian media is actually much more open, or even at times unfairly negative towards Indian players. Heigh criticized Warne for enjoying IPL and calling it exciting. He was really venting against IPL, not Warne. On the other hand, Tendulkar was starting to get a rap for poor final and is only saved by a big circus in town with famous clowns such as Manohar, Amin, Srinivas, Pawar, Tharoor and their brand new act called 'sweat equity'.

  • AlokJoshi on April 27, 2010, 18:18 GMT

    Gideon, disgusting article. When Rick in Casablanca said he was 'misinformed', his ignorance was smartness; while your ignorance is laughable. Eg of ignorance: a) using bankrupt Enron as an analogy for outlining the scale of IPL's issues; b) Few IPL teams are subsidiaries of public listed companies subject to no tax breaks- what generalised tax minimisation are you talking of? c) FDI into India, via Mauritius, is a route chosen by investors, not by investees; which pay tax on their net income. Your agenda is simple: deride all that is Indian. Stop articulating your bankrupt mind's lamentable contempt of India, and tarnishing the image of my country. Allegegd IPL irregularities are unacceptable, are being probed into by multiple agencies more capable than you, and any wrongdoing will be dealt with. In future, Indian cricket will emerge stronger, to your dismay. I am writing this ahead of the event, unlike you, who is boasting his foresight on a matter where hindsight has been developed.

  • ElectronSmoke on April 27, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    Its really sad and amusing as an Indian .. to observe many of my countrymen take the obvious, cliched route of reading the criticism and conveniently box it as "Anglo Aussie bitterness against Indian money and power". Sure, that's the case sometimes (they've been at the helm for a century; suddenly find themselves being shoved aside-how would you react to such shift of powers even within confines of your home). Whether its justified or not, is a different discussion: Gideon recognizes the entrepreneurial skills of Modi, his vision, his ability to maximize the cash cow. But is he so wrong in outlining the inherent tax-escaping, law dodging ways of the IPL governance? and identifying that crickets governance in India at large is corrupt, opaque and egotistic? I love cricket and the financial strides India has taken in last 20 odd years, I also recognize the good IPL has done despite being no fan of the format. But please guys - admit where we erred, its much more macho to be accountable

  • LucySays on April 27, 2010, 16:24 GMT

    Gideon, you did get off the beaten track here, with you ill-conceived sideways rant about sporting markets. You see, Gideon, the world consists of regions. Each of those regions has its own culture, including its very own sporting culture. In Australia, Gideon, as you well know, now we are in the midst of the rugby league and AFL seasons. Cricket, at the moment, rates a distant third or fourth in the sporting calendar. While the IPL has received, as expectead, commentary in the Australian media, unlike your own brand of petty commentary, it hasn't been front-page news day in, day out, since the story broke. Why? Well, rugby and AFL are the sports that matter most in the sporting region of Australia. The target market in the winter months are rugby and AFL fans, hence the sporting pages will naturally target these readers. And, you have the audacity to deride Auustralian sporting editors with your own brand of ignorance. Perhaps time to brush on some fundamental marketing theory.

  • LucySays on April 27, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    Why do some many Indian bloggers sense that Gideon Haigh is some great advocate of Australian cricket or Australia per se. He is anything but. His most recent article criticised Shane Warne--a fair call too, but would the Indian media ever criticise say Tendulkar or Gavaskar? India is still a child in many ways, but it's growing up; at the moment it struggles to cope with any form of real or perceived criticism. But, can I add that when Peter Roebuck, like Haigh, an expat English grump living in Australia, condemns Aus cricket, the Indian public joyfully celebrate. Yet, when the stick is pointing in India's direction, you get all cocky and self-righteous, and spin such unrelated rubbish as the stuff noted on this blog (and which fills the Indian media cricket blogs). Haigh, incase you hadn't noticed, didn't let Australia off the hook here; in his opening segue he completely admonishes Aus sport writing--oblivious to, as another poster points out, the idea of regional sporting markets.

  • upyoass1 on April 27, 2010, 16:11 GMT

    Comments moderated? just how self nepotistic can you be?

  • IGL2010 on April 27, 2010, 16:05 GMT

    Nice cover up by BCCI and the govt. Fire Modi and Throor and problem is solved. Corruption at its height. News channels need a new news now so the issue is officially put under the carpet.

  • upyoass1 on April 27, 2010, 15:57 GMT

    hear hear, the great gideon speaks. world, take a bow. now go about your morning duties.

  • SasiKC on April 27, 2010, 15:48 GMT

    Long, long ago, so long ago, there was a complexioned, contemporary, conversant, controversial, cigarette-king called Lalit Kumar Modi. Breaking all barriers, somehow he achieved what he dreamt of "attaining neo nirvana" in no time. From nirvana, he wanted to reach ecstasy for himself without enabling others to feel the glee. There entered a coup master, Shashi Tharoor, along with him, the Soorpanaki Sunanda. Shashi did not bowl the length and line Modi wanted. Modi cried foul and blew the whistle on Shashi. The goal was met. Shahshi succeeded in his avatar; surrendered his costumes at the Center where the plot was set. The BCCI beer bowl was brought down - from cheers - for a political sip, then gulp, and then feast. The King grounded and learnt that there is no country for lonely men. Moral: "Team Work (with equal respect, recognitions, and rewards) works!"

  • Clyde on April 27, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    It is amazing how many times scandals are announced by the people involved, like Mr Modi, or public authority, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, and not journalists. Mr Haigh's article is a good one, but what I am talking about - and I am a journalist - is journalists' (especially editors') making up their own minds what is a scandal and what is not and competing to get it into print. Too many editors work too hard to have any ordinary wit to call on when it counts. They thus come across and dull and slow. One of my colleagues said in his farewell speech, 'Most of the people here are dead from the neck up.'

  • patil1pd on April 27, 2010, 15:30 GMT

    IPL never was a true representation of India, neither global nor local. It was what India wanted, and conveniently hid whats still dirty. It is parable to jolly bollywood movies which people of India enjoy despite most leaving in entirely opposite situations, while they scoff the honest documentaries showing reality. It is like the teenagers with new found freedom and powers ignore their responsibilities and are seen as cocky.

  • cricster67 on April 27, 2010, 13:45 GMT

    Thank you Heigh, for recognizing Modi as an entrepreneur that he is, even while continuing to deride the product. Amin, the new IPL supremo, has admitted that the governing council was sleeping at the wheel. To me, that is a bigger crime than making mistakes (and I have not seen any indication that Modi, unlike Tharoor, really enriched himself through Royals or Kings 11 deals). Anyone who works, makes a mistake. It is complete dereliction of duty, like that of the governing council, that is criminal. Seems like lady Justice is on the losing side here, but if that were to change, the real justice would be for the rest of the council members to be disbarred.

  • jopa on April 27, 2010, 13:37 GMT

    "..... and what the modern-day India stands for and its successes.", what a blanket statement????, Giedeon. Are you trying to tell that all Indians are corrupt? You motivation to write this article, with such venom, seems crystal clear. Lets keep aside all the discussions, and the pros and cons, just one question to you (or all the Australians that played in the IPL).

    Would all the Australians players, coaches, officials (umpires/ match referees /commentators) and the Australian cricket board forgo all the money they earned out of IPL, given that the money is so tainted? Isn't that the right way, Mr. Gideon?? We know the answer...... So, stop prophesising and India bashing, the money is real. As for the IPL, it will be cleaned up, and IPL4 will be better that IP3, we promise. Thats what happens in a vibrant democracy like India....

  • MyTwoPaise on April 27, 2010, 13:36 GMT

    What I find revolting in this whole affair is the minimal outrage by the Indian audience. Why is the concept of tax payers money being used to pay for a private team never bought up. Why is no one questioning how much money do these teams pay as taxes for the use of public resources including security? And pray,remember the number of times, that IPL had become the unofficial Ministry of External Affairs for India. Cricket was one place where I enjoyed taking a fresh breath without corruption and politics. It was gone. Maybe I should move to hockey. And finally, it was Shubash Chandra from Zee TV who pioneered Twenty20 as it is seen today. Not Modi! He just bought the sex and sleaze into it.

  • NISH67 on April 27, 2010, 13:35 GMT

    I was amused to read some of the comments here and the one by sehwaghology - what ?? in particular as it referred in passing to my comments . I would ask the reader concerned to go through the comment properly before launching into a tirade about jingoistic indians and what not . For the record Iam a Sri Lankan and was taking a neutral stance on the matter and not being an apologist for Modi and co . If you had read my comments properly I agreed with many of the points raised by Gideon but took only umbrage at the apparent - " I told you this would happen " stance that he has taken . I would suggest to seghwagonolgy or whatever to not read between the lines and get his facts straight !

  • on April 27, 2010, 13:06 GMT

    I am no fan of the IPL, but Gideon Haigh has become an entirely tiresome representative of an Anglo-Australian class embittered by their lost position at the center of things. Find something English to rant about, Haigh - it's not like there's a shortage of issues.

  • Wanderer.Forever on April 27, 2010, 13:03 GMT

    Gideon who???

    All the cricket fans out there - who really is this guy?

  • agm_ on April 27, 2010, 12:53 GMT

    Why so surprised? I don't think anyone really is surprised. Almost all developing countries go through such phases in their evolution. In a way, it's a sign of India's maturing democracy that the issue is being dealt with. In many other countries - including Indias past - such things would never see the light of day. Sure, ideally it's better to prevent than cure, but that's not always realistic.

    The most important element of the IPL - the quality of the on field action - remains robust. Only if something untoward is discovered here - such as match-fixing - do I see real a real threat to the tournament.

    Otherwise, governance and transparency will be strengthened and the IPL will only get stronger. It remains on track to become one of the world's leading sporting leagues.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on April 27, 2010, 12:51 GMT

    "here, surely, was an Indian Enron in the making. To fail to grasp that you needed to be either ignorant or implicated"....

    Enron went bankrupt taking down with it all those who were associated with it, more importantly the shareholders and employees. I think, we all would agree that given the absurd parallel "ignorant" goes best to what you have written.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on April 27, 2010, 12:42 GMT

    "Modi's modus operandi was to keep doubling the bets in his own charisma, and indeed, the story of his triumph enjoyed widespread appeal. Here was the personification of India Shining,"... Very clearly your envy and hate shines through. It's clearly not about Modi is it?

  • vatsap on April 27, 2010, 12:39 GMT

    Brilliant, spot on. Best medium to get your views heard. Want response to your articles on the net, criticize Sachin Tendulkar or now IPL and every Indian worth his rupee is up in arms :-)

    Extremely surprised at how many folks (Indians) are backing Modi. It might be the changing face of India which we probably don't need. Money, Glitz, glamour, unaccountablity, wasn't it a dead give away.

    If he was smart he should have under played himself, is this the scenario where power over rides everything else including money. What a speech after the closing ceremony, it wasn't as grand as last years but still.

    As long as there is an audience of so many billion we will have Modis.

  • IndusKnight on April 27, 2010, 12:33 GMT

    As usual, a great insightful article from Gideon and as usual you can expect indians lashing out at him for speaking the truth. Indians like indian media call whatever that goes in their favor a truth. The kiss-ass commentators was such a good comment. Yes, Harsha,Gavaskar (money-worshiper) and Shastri are good examples. I was shocked to see Gavaskar mock the players who stayed away from IPL and chose to represent their countries. How disrepectful can they get?

  • ram5160 on April 27, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    "Harsha Bhogle's say-nothing column for Cricinfo" How patronising is that? I am no fan of Bhogle but I dont think I ve seen any other columnist on cricinfo attack the articles of other columnists i.e your own colleagues, in such a destructively critical manner.

  • maidenoverture on April 27, 2010, 11:40 GMT

    On an apparent aside - "...when a bomb went off in Bangalore with all the force of a car backfiring and an Australian cricketer in the same postcode might have had his hair mussed or spilt his margarita..." - 14 people were injured and a security guard critically so - I'm sure he won't take to kindly too your allegorical misdemeanour, suggestive of the similar cocky complacency from which the IPL no doubt had it's vision spring forth... as you've very diligently reported.

  • HP_75 on April 27, 2010, 11:34 GMT

    You make a laughable claim of foresight, Gideon! Your repeated diatribes over the last 2 years against the IPL were never about possible financial sleight of hand or money laundering...they were about India's growing influence in the game (the unsaid part being about the diminution of traditional power centres). And what IPL proponents and fans loved most about the league was the exciting face-offs and pairings involving most of the greats of the game. Yes, there was national pride too...afterall the concept was new, exciting and fabulously entertaining! The off-field roguery of owners or administrators can be (and is being) dealt with; but the concept of IPL, and the Champions League (made possible only because of the IPL), are here to stay, and will prove to be key drivers of cricket into new regions. Gideon can huff and puff all he likes, but the IPL is an idea whose time has come.

  • trenta01 on April 27, 2010, 11:14 GMT

    Perhaps those that live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. It was clear to most outsiders that the IPL was a little dubious in its runnings and workings and that Lalit Modi a man with a big mouth combined with the cash and connections to back it up was at the forefront of it all. His clear knowledge of a game last year that would go to a super over before it did should have been much more closely investigated, but people were happy to turn a blind eye due to the success. It was interesting that the finals of this years tournament were all one sided perhaps when Mr Modi was distracted by more pressing matters. India is a power in cricket all over the world and clearly respected by other nations it doesn't need this rubbish sideshow to prove that. It is just ironical that the man with big mouth quick to bag Ponting and Cairns is at the forefront of all the wrongdoing

  • Quazar on April 27, 2010, 11:10 GMT

    That Gideon has an axe to grind is obvious from his reference to Cronje, without acknowledging that: a) while the investigative agencies in India are sensing financial irregularities by some of the franchises and Modi, there isn't any trail of match-fixing (the real anathema to sports fans); b) while the IPL & BCCI had entrusted their own teams with anti-match-fixing lookout responsibilies in IPL-1 and IPL-2, for IPL-3 the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit was involved and they have given a clean chit to the event. Gideon, honesty and transparency should begin at home.

  • Quazar on April 27, 2010, 11:09 GMT

    Gideon Haigh...are you challenged between your ears, or just an eternal India-critic? Perhaps both? The reason why the IPL has had tens of millions of fans across India - and why 55,000 people attended the IPL-3 finals and millions of TVs were tuned in, despite the off-field scandal - is the highly competitive and entertaining CRICKET CONTESTS that it has brought to Indian shores. Not because of who the administrators or shareholders were, and not because of Citi or DLF or the MRF blimp! Yes, Modi and other wheelers & dealers around the IPL deserve to face the music...and they are. But IPL, the product, will continue to thrive, and become even better due to the cleansing of the off-field shenanigans. Lastly, 1) corporate and political corruption afflict even developed nations like the US, the UK or an Australia, not just a developing nation like India; b) 99.99% of Indians don't give a damn what Aussies like you think of us...we know how to face the mirror and move forward ourselves.

  • maddy20 on April 27, 2010, 11:07 GMT

    Have there there never been any scandals in Australia? http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSSYD20239620080222 In a large democracy like India there are bound to be scandals every now and then and we have always emerged out of them STRONGER than before(just like the bofors case that plagued the Army and then the outcome strengthened it). Excessive media hype actually makes it sound bigger than it actually is. You have been waiting for a long time for this opportunity(I think) to bash the IPL but mark my words"Indian cricket and IPL will emerge rejuvenated after this mess is cleared You will bite your own words after the T20 , Australia tour of India when we thump the Aussies and IPL 4 will be bigger and better than IPL 3". You will see.

  • mmoosa on April 27, 2010, 11:02 GMT

    A lot of insinuation but no facts-seems as if the media is going to deliver judgement on Modi. How does Haigh know that Modi is guilty,has no feeling for cricket,etc-These are all emotional arguments and hence biased. Should'nt Modi have a chance,as a human being,to defend himself? Yes he might be guilty of nefarious wrong-doing but shoudnt we wait for the outcome rather than argue emotionally? Also nobody can predict-even a broken clock is right twice a day!-who expected mark waugh,cronje,etc to be dealing with bookies in the past?-In the same way nobody knows wat the modi outcome will be. (he might not be guilty-its possible!). Like the stock market,run in the opposite direction from the herd of sheep (like gideon!)

  • Qman14 on April 27, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    This mess typifies india and its attidute to everything. Never know when to stop and always trying to punch above its weight. Lets first look at 'The best league in the world', well it would be if there is no such other professional cricket league. But my problem is that there is nothing worldly or international about it. Someone said on TV that there were 1.2 billion viewers, so what that is roughly the population of India any way. Here in UK, one of most populated country in terms of expat Indians, IPL is being shown on one of free channels on Sky which says alot about it being desperate for viewership outside India but then it is on ITV4, not one two or 3. Here on streets if you ask any one, who is remotely white, about IPL he/she will likely confuse it with laser treatment for hair. To summarise, I think it is doomed to end in tears and all these international players are nothing more than paid hookers on a rappers party, fizzle out with the champagne.

  • joshilay on April 27, 2010, 10:53 GMT

    Cmon Mr. Haigh, though what you say is true as in Corruption. I would ask to refrain from venting out your anger at seeing India rising. All nations have their corrupt personalities, that doesnt mean that others Angels in "Gold". We don't even want to start about the Australian greeting for Indians, as in the student victimization. We do understand that they were sporadic cases not the general feeling amongst the public there. For Christ's sake, you people are not even the natives of Australia. So stop this deriding talk and personal villification of any support to the IPL.

    Dont be jealous of the great League (even though faulty, wrt the corruption) that has been formed in India. EPL and all other sustainable leagues have also have had their share of corruption controversies, so mate, give it a break. Also, first build a League of your own, then try standing up with the Mighty.

    Till then Mr. Modern Nostradamus, Good day

  • TheOnlyEmperor on April 27, 2010, 10:52 GMT

    The Indians wash their scandals in the open through the media who decide how much to wash and cover up; the Aussies deny that it's a scandal when they see one and when it's obvious even to the kiwi, it's a slap on the wrist for those concerned and the press plays ball by giving the issue a quick burial. The Pakistanis when a scandal happens, change the entire military top brass with another set and these typically come back through rotation; the South Africans call for a truth commission and make it a soap opera; the West Indians blame the island involved that gave everybody else a bad name; the Sri Lankans use political clout to bring appeasement; the English pretend that all's well, give the tainted guy a foreign posting/another job. Let's remember that London is the sleaze capital of the world and they've perfected the art of maintaining 'appearances' of cleanliness. The Americans change the laws so they don't look bad and the Chinese simply execute those giving them a bad name!

  • ALLROUNDCRICKET on April 27, 2010, 10:47 GMT

    Ahh, Wouldn't you expect Cricinfo, now in the hands of espnstar.co. UK, a BRITISH Consortim, to be toot its horns when presented with event he slightest opportunity to cast aspersions on anything Good associated with INDIA. That calumny and slander can assume such vitriol, masqerading as journalistic acumen is laughable. How about the good that the IPL has done? In his so called pronouncements of an 'enron style' Governance, Gideon has wilfully, (surely he's not that naive to have missed it altogether) chosen to ignore the raise in player incentives owing to money coming into the game, b) the start of an allignment of cricket with international sports like football and tennis and the American games

    Ahh, but if a canny Indian is SMART enough to seize the opportunity and capitalise it then Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum of the Imperial Cricket Council feel the tremors waking them up from their torpor over the village green.

  • Auckland_New_Zealanders on April 27, 2010, 10:19 GMT

    (from above)and subsequently Arthur Anderson extremely far fetched, and for you to have written it and then your editors to allow it to be published is dangerously inaccurate, and dare I say it, so 'very average'. - Given that this piece is completely devoid of fact, I can only assume it is an opinion piece. Whilst there is a hint that you think that perhaps Indian cricket has deserved this mess, that is not made particularly clear. The real message that slaps readers in the face is your extremely high opinion of yourself, which adds very little in my view to what is undoubtedly a very important debate about the future of a competition that has changed the cricket landscape.

  • Auckland_New_Zealanders on April 27, 2010, 10:17 GMT

    Mr Haigh, If you could spare a moment from patting yourself on the back, I have some comments about your article: -Every single person on the planet has their own World view. To many people in Australia, and especially Melbourne, the rugby league crisis or AFL issues are the most important sporting issues in their World. Newspapers editors are aware of their audience and therefore publish stories and headlines in the context of the World view of their readers. Through Cricinfo you (lamentably) have a much wider and diverse audience, and so therefore the concept of the 'World' for your readers is much different, but this does not give you the right to decide what is important for anybody, and to do so in the manner you have in this article is arrogant in the extreme. - If you have a problem with hyperbole, then perhaps leave out the Enron references. To suggest that the fall out from this issue as currently known can even compare to the collapse of Enron (continued on next post)

  • Siva_TN on April 27, 2010, 10:00 GMT

    The writer is saying as if the IPL has come to an end..Inspite of the financial irregularities and the politics involved, it is still the best cricket league in the world..and will be for years to come... As Sambit said in another article, this scandal is needed to set the administration part right..It is for the government to take care of the tax irregularities and money laundering etc etc.. Looks like this writer is "generously" happy about the scandal that the IPL has hit..but IPL is here to stay for many more yrs to come and we will see more aussie players standing in the queue to be picked in auction!!

  • Sehwagology on April 27, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    I would rather that the image of Indian cricket was represented by Tendulkar, Dravid and Kumble as opposed to the venal, morally bankrupt and narcissistic Lalit Modi and Sharad Pawar. And yet all we are going to get are attacks on Gideon saying that the Australian and English cricketing establishments are no better. Even if that were true (which it manifestly is not!) how does it possibly absolve corruption and greed in India! If we truly want to be smug about our leadership of the game then we should do it by behaving responsibly and acting in the best interests of the game and its supporters!

  • Sehwagology on April 27, 2010, 9:57 GMT

    I get tired of saying this but beautifully written as always. However as soon as this article was published I was bracing myself for the typically vacuous ad hominem attacks from hyper sensitive and jingoistic Indians. NISH67 did not disappoint. Attack the argument - if you actually can - rather than the man! I'm an Indian and yet I feel no sense of inferiority complex if Gideon points out the blatantly obvious! Did anyone in India seriously think that a nexus between the BCCI, Big Business, politicians and Bollywood would actually produce a product that was transparent and beyond repproach. Absolutely not but the majority were prepared to ignore it as long as it allowed us to demonstrate our leadership of the game! You know what, I would rather be a leader through cricketing primacy on the field and by being an exemplar of competence and probity off it!

  • Jammy70 on April 27, 2010, 9:55 GMT

    Absolutely marvellous, Gideon! It needed an Aussie to say it like it should be... this scandal was meant to happen; only, we never expected it to happen so soon!

  • HP_75 on April 27, 2010, 9:47 GMT

    Gideon may be a writer, but his claim of being a historian is seriously dubious. He needs to go and read at least a few books on the evolution of politics, business and professional sports in OECD countries like the US, before he even attempts to critique a relatively young democracy, which is still only in its second decade of economic liberalization. I'm not an apologist for people like Modi or Pawar, who may or may not have played off-field games. For the IPL was never about those guys to most folks in India in the first place.

  • Gizza on April 27, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    The clock is indeed ticking for the fourth IPL Gideon. I wonder how he thinks it should like. Maybe it should be in the form of a knockout which will be over a in week so we can have more time for "real" cricket like Ashes. Speaking of which why don't we return to the good old days where they were 6 Tests long and the only strong black team was the Windies and where their fast bowling greats were described in various journo articles in Eng and Aus as "ferocious", "fearsome" and "terrifying" along with other beast imagery.

  • virology on April 27, 2010, 9:42 GMT

    Now more Australian writers will turn over and say the same thing as 'I thought so...'. I can understand the jealousy. Hope everything is cleaned and I believe the IPL fourth edition will be as big as the previous one. It still have lots and lots of support from Indian people. The BCCI should conduct a thorough investigation and expose all that was bad. But this would be more unlikely and there would be few cover ups and damage control. Again few years down the line something like this will happen. The people of India should demand for the truth , so that it will stop people from other countries to ridicule India. Everything in Australia is also not good (your recent rugby league controvery involving melbourne stroms, shane warne and Mark Waugh involvement with the bookies..) So bad and good are everywhere gentlemen. Probably more in the developing world compared to the developed world.

  • nahan on April 27, 2010, 9:41 GMT

    Despite of IPL controversy reached its peak, the silence of S. Gavaskar & Ravi Shathri raises eyebrows! Why they are still being mum

  • ian_ghose on April 27, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    Nail hammered right in!! Yes, it was all a sham. I always wondered (and I've lived in India for 25 and a half years), how is it that there is soooo much money going around while people still live in abject poverty, risking their very lives everyday, just to commute from their suburbs to the city and back. It's a huge, politico-financial-fiscal nexus with tons of unaccounted money thrown in. India should have woken up with the Satyam scam to realize that not all is hunky dory with the 'shine' of India. This just proves it even further. For all those out there who see this article as Anglo-Australian jealousy towards Asia, they really need to undergo surgery to get that chip off their shoulders. You're not doing your country any favours by blindly supporting its temples of corruption. Wake up sonny boy...

    IG

  • simplesumo on April 27, 2010, 9:16 GMT

    nicely written Gideon. The sad reality though is that Modi will be the fall guy and the real culprits will continue to suck the game for their own personal benefits. To run cricket professionally in India is demanding too much. When corruption and nepotism is prevalent in all walks of life, how can cricket - the sport of the masses - be left untainted?!

  • AbhiPro on April 27, 2010, 9:10 GMT

    By jove, Mr Haigh, you have really let it rip here . . . I am sure there'll soon be howls of self-righteous protests by many Indian 'fans'. This is by far the best article to appear on Cricinfo on the IPL scandal. It hadd to be an Aussie, I guess, for no Indian journalist will have the guts to say that the emperor was never wearing any clothes at all. Dunno why we hesitate to call a spade for what it is, a spade.

  • juliet on April 27, 2010, 8:58 GMT

    Couldn't agree more, Gideon. A great article. I think the terrible worry now is that all the players involved - Modi, the top brass of the BCCI and franchise owners - will find it in their interests to cut a deal to stay silent on the corruption that each has undoubtedly been indulging in. If that happens, the story will slowly slip from Page 1 all the way to the back corner of the paper.

  • Rukmankan on April 27, 2010, 8:54 GMT

    Well written Gideon. I like the IPL but am fed up with Modi's grandstanding and all the nauseating catchphrases (DLF Maximum etc). I think Modi's ouster is good in the sense that it will rein in the egos and make them focus on the fundamentals, such as building and cementing loyal fan bases etc which are critical to the long term sustainability of the league.

    Anyway, I'm now going to sit back and real all the comments on how you're just another non-Indian jealous of Indian success etc etc... :-)

  • NISH67 on April 27, 2010, 8:47 GMT

    While I agree with some of the points raised , Gideon Haigh always had a axe to grind with the rise of the asian sub continent , its cricketers and inevitably the clout that comes with such success .Scrutiny of his previous writings will bear testimony to this fact and he has endorsed such sentiments with his holier than thou " I told you so " attitude in this article . All I can say to Gideon is , speak with conscience mate because all things Australian "aint" Golden either !!!

  • MSDonLSD on April 27, 2010, 8:45 GMT

    So True! most commercial cricket (like T20 formats) watchers in India are ignorant to the very fact that cricket in India has always been the most lucrative form of investment may that be white, black or grey money! However, whats left to see now is will the IPL bar be raised next year with the sort of low profile administrative management approach the BCCI is going for or will Lalit Modi's entrepreneurship style be missed! either way money players will continue to take advantage of cricket!

  • JM_01 on April 27, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    Looks like Haigh has hit the IPL for another DLF maximum - another monstrously good article.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • JM_01 on April 27, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    Looks like Haigh has hit the IPL for another DLF maximum - another monstrously good article.

  • MSDonLSD on April 27, 2010, 8:45 GMT

    So True! most commercial cricket (like T20 formats) watchers in India are ignorant to the very fact that cricket in India has always been the most lucrative form of investment may that be white, black or grey money! However, whats left to see now is will the IPL bar be raised next year with the sort of low profile administrative management approach the BCCI is going for or will Lalit Modi's entrepreneurship style be missed! either way money players will continue to take advantage of cricket!

  • NISH67 on April 27, 2010, 8:47 GMT

    While I agree with some of the points raised , Gideon Haigh always had a axe to grind with the rise of the asian sub continent , its cricketers and inevitably the clout that comes with such success .Scrutiny of his previous writings will bear testimony to this fact and he has endorsed such sentiments with his holier than thou " I told you so " attitude in this article . All I can say to Gideon is , speak with conscience mate because all things Australian "aint" Golden either !!!

  • Rukmankan on April 27, 2010, 8:54 GMT

    Well written Gideon. I like the IPL but am fed up with Modi's grandstanding and all the nauseating catchphrases (DLF Maximum etc). I think Modi's ouster is good in the sense that it will rein in the egos and make them focus on the fundamentals, such as building and cementing loyal fan bases etc which are critical to the long term sustainability of the league.

    Anyway, I'm now going to sit back and real all the comments on how you're just another non-Indian jealous of Indian success etc etc... :-)

  • juliet on April 27, 2010, 8:58 GMT

    Couldn't agree more, Gideon. A great article. I think the terrible worry now is that all the players involved - Modi, the top brass of the BCCI and franchise owners - will find it in their interests to cut a deal to stay silent on the corruption that each has undoubtedly been indulging in. If that happens, the story will slowly slip from Page 1 all the way to the back corner of the paper.

  • AbhiPro on April 27, 2010, 9:10 GMT

    By jove, Mr Haigh, you have really let it rip here . . . I am sure there'll soon be howls of self-righteous protests by many Indian 'fans'. This is by far the best article to appear on Cricinfo on the IPL scandal. It hadd to be an Aussie, I guess, for no Indian journalist will have the guts to say that the emperor was never wearing any clothes at all. Dunno why we hesitate to call a spade for what it is, a spade.

  • simplesumo on April 27, 2010, 9:16 GMT

    nicely written Gideon. The sad reality though is that Modi will be the fall guy and the real culprits will continue to suck the game for their own personal benefits. To run cricket professionally in India is demanding too much. When corruption and nepotism is prevalent in all walks of life, how can cricket - the sport of the masses - be left untainted?!

  • ian_ghose on April 27, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    Nail hammered right in!! Yes, it was all a sham. I always wondered (and I've lived in India for 25 and a half years), how is it that there is soooo much money going around while people still live in abject poverty, risking their very lives everyday, just to commute from their suburbs to the city and back. It's a huge, politico-financial-fiscal nexus with tons of unaccounted money thrown in. India should have woken up with the Satyam scam to realize that not all is hunky dory with the 'shine' of India. This just proves it even further. For all those out there who see this article as Anglo-Australian jealousy towards Asia, they really need to undergo surgery to get that chip off their shoulders. You're not doing your country any favours by blindly supporting its temples of corruption. Wake up sonny boy...

    IG

  • nahan on April 27, 2010, 9:41 GMT

    Despite of IPL controversy reached its peak, the silence of S. Gavaskar & Ravi Shathri raises eyebrows! Why they are still being mum

  • virology on April 27, 2010, 9:42 GMT

    Now more Australian writers will turn over and say the same thing as 'I thought so...'. I can understand the jealousy. Hope everything is cleaned and I believe the IPL fourth edition will be as big as the previous one. It still have lots and lots of support from Indian people. The BCCI should conduct a thorough investigation and expose all that was bad. But this would be more unlikely and there would be few cover ups and damage control. Again few years down the line something like this will happen. The people of India should demand for the truth , so that it will stop people from other countries to ridicule India. Everything in Australia is also not good (your recent rugby league controvery involving melbourne stroms, shane warne and Mark Waugh involvement with the bookies..) So bad and good are everywhere gentlemen. Probably more in the developing world compared to the developed world.