The IPL career of Luke Pomersbach, the Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman, has been placed in the balance after he was detained by the Delhi police on Friday and charged with assault on a woman and her fiance. Pomersbach was produced in a Delhi court, where he was granted interim bail, and was also suspended by the IPL franchise for the rest of this tournament.
The case was filed by a US national, who alleged that Pomersbach assaulted her and her fiance in their room at the team hotel on Thursday night after the match against Delhi Daredevils.
"A US national, staying at Hotel Maurya, was molested by Luke Pomersbach, an Australian player of RCB, when they were partying in her room," the Delhi police said in a statement. "When her fiancé Sahil intervened he too was boxed by Luke. A case under Sections 354, 323, 454 and 511 IPC [Indian Penal Code] registered at the Chanakyapuri police station."
Vijay Mallya, the owner of Royal Challengers, said the franchise would co-operate fully with the authorities. "Royal Challengers Bangalore regrets the incident involving Luke Pomersbach. We will ensure full co-operation with the concerned authorities so that a fair investigation takes place and the issue is disposed off in accordance with law," Vijay Mallya said in Delhi. "Pending disposal of this matter Luke Pomersbach will not take the field for the team."
The IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla said the league was "not responsible" for the alleged incident. "There was no official party hosted by the IPL. It's the behaviour of an individual, let the police handle it. We will wait for the report from the police and then react."
The couple alleging the assault were reportedly injured and have been admitted to a local hospital. Pomersbach, who has not played a game for Royal Challengers this season, was reportedly taken to hospital for a medical test and was later seen with his arm in a sling.
By Sharda Ugra
It's been a crazy week for the IPL. A sting operation by a TV channel that led to the suspension of five cricketers was followed by verbal fisticuffs between Shah Rukh Khan and officials of the Mumbai Cricket Association and an IPL player, Luke Pomersbach, being detained by the Delhi police on charges of having assaulted a guest at the team hotel.
There is much about the IPL that is worthy of criticism and scrutiny. To believe that the SRK-MCA bust-up and the charges against Pomersbach, though, are the lone by-products of the IPL is to believe in a world where hunger strikes are rational 21st century responses. Yes, had there been no IPL, the skirmish at the Wankhede and Pomersbach's own indiscretions may never have happened. Yet there are no guarantees either that any of the protagonists in Mumbai and Delhi would not have acted in this manner elsewhere - at another time and in another place.
The IPL is not the only sports league in the world offering insane salaries and party lifestyles. European football, the NFL and the NBA, to name a few, are full of stories of the kind the IPL has produced this week. These leagues are decades old but the IPL, into its fifth year, is just beginning to identify its conflict zones. It is what happens when money, power, alcohol and entertainment meet entitlement.
The IPL won't go away because a few hundred people don't like its cricket or its trappings. It is a part of cricket's business, the players love it and the public laps it up. The Wankhede ban against Shah Rukh is cricket closing ranks and, similarly, Kirti Azad's rousing promise in Parliament that he would go on a hunger strike if the IPL were not stopped is empty theatrics. What we must accept is that there could be more such incidents over the next few years of the IPL - what it needs now is for its governors to be mature, proactive and decisive. The IPL is growing up; it needs to be handled, but it can't be run or dictated to by children.