The IPL Controversy: Blessing in disguise?
The Indian Premier League is probably one of the best things that has happened to cricket and its success in the last three years shows just how powerful and how well it has been accepted by the public. The IPL has come under clouds of controversies ever since it was conceived and amid many criticisms and allegations, it has grown to become the seventh largest sporting league on the planet and has brought cricket to all corners of the world. The league thrives and despite many being very highly critical of it, the IPL has proved all wrong and has taken the game to a whole new level that was beyond the imagination of the people governing cricket a couple of years ago.
The man who has made all this possible is Lalit Kumar Modi. Being the youngest Vice President of the BCCI, Lalit Modi has redefined cricket and changed the topography to an extent that even the soil has changed. Much like how Kerry Packer revolutionized cricket, Lalit Modi has done to a greater extent when compared to Packer. Modi brought together some innovative entrepreneurial expertise and mixed it with some brilliant management and marketing aptitude. He redefined management in the field of cricket. Modi represents the third generation of entrepreneurs who are eccentric and believe that the world is theirs for the conquering. Cricket has never seen anyone like this, and with the approval of BCCI and ICC, Modi set up the dream called Indian Premier League. He mixed a concoction from glamour, cricket, and money. Modi had Bollywood, industrialist and business tycoons and politicians play an active part in the league. He captured the Indian middle class’ attention with the quality of cricket on display and the glitz of the cine field. Bollywood and cricket make a deadly combination in India, and with it the IPL formed the perfect formula.
The success of the Indian Premier League is largely based on its creditability and its huge brand name. IPL has gone from heights to heights and the brand name that once was truly dependant on the parent body of BCCI, has risen to stand independent. Now, after three years of wonderful cricket and entertainment, IPL faces its biggest controversy. With the Indian Income Tax Department showing financial irregularities of the IPL and its commissioner, Lalit Modi, the IPL faces its biggest battle. The credibility and the very name of the Indian Premier League are now at stake.
Various allegations have been made, and the IPL is being turned into a political warfare in India. Various allegations have been levelled and a few ministers have been linked to the league. Shashi Tharoor stepping down as the cabinet minster of External affairs being the prominent example of how political the IPL has turned into. With allegations ranging from financial irregularities and money squandering to conflict of interests between politicians and members of the BCCI, to even match fixing and illegal betting. IPL is in the eye of a huge storm and the open feud now between Lalit Modi and BCCI shows just how the grave the situation is.
Lalit Modi may have been an outstanding person who revolutionized cricket and made people see it in a whole new dimension, but what he has done in the process is also stain the very image and brand he so dearly built up. Financial irregularities and money squandering are very big allegations against him. Added to this are various other assertions such as using his position to benefit personal interests, confidentiality breach, having proxy holdings and also contacts with various bookies. The allegations and speculations go on and on and a new one surfaces every day. The line between speculations and allegations has dimmed to a certain extent in the past few days. The many allegations levelled against Lalit Modi and IPL continue not only to shock the BCCI and the Governing Council (GC) of the IPL, but also the public. Lalit Modi has tarnished and destroyed to a certain extent the very product that he created and nurtured. Modi with his larger than life image tried to be bigger than the game and is now paying the penalty of that as numerous probes have been initiated against him. IPL nor any cricketing league or body for that matter can be run by an autocrat. No organization can be a one man show and if that is the case, then there are bound to be conflicts within and outside the institution. The IPL stands as an example to that.
The BCCI and the Governing Council of the IPL are also in the wrong and are to be blamed. Tiger Patudi, a member of the IPL governing council said that they had not much say in the workings of the IPL and as long as the results was shown by Modi, they went happily along with him rather than to pause and question him. The Governing Council is at fault for not being conscientious and attentive of the dealings of the commissioner in relation with the IPL. The BCCI is the parent body of the IPL. Despite IPL being independent, it still is a sub-commodity of the BCCI and for that very matter they are also at fault and have to bear the consequences.
All the muck and slime associated with the IPL, will have a telling a damage on its name and more importantly its credibility and reputation. The Indian Premier League and BCCI have the perfect opportunity to retrospect and do a clean up operation of their workings and reorganize the failed structure. Lalit Modi is certainly all set to be shown the exit door no matter how resolute he is, and I’m sure that the power given to the IPL commissioner in the future will be much less when compared to now. The damage to the brand name is yet to be seen, but it will have an impact and investors will think twice or more before they commit to the IPL in the future. The very establishment and bureaucracy of the BCCI will be tested and this is perhaps a blessing in disguise and the perfect opportunity for BCCI as the guardians of the game to show the world that it indeed cares about the game and also to set its own house in order.
The Indian Premier League is a simply amazing league and helps promote cricket. With the amount of money involved it provides a good financial backing to cricketers and also helps bring hidden talent to the fore. It helps fringe cricketers and others rub shoulders with legends of the game and provides a fine opportunity for the younger and domestic players to learn from the best. Players like Hameet Singh, or Ambathi Raydu would never have been known had it not been for the IPL. It is the perfect forum for fringe players to showcase their potential and talent and also learn. It also provides fantastic entertainment and some wonderful quality of cricket. For cricket’s sake I hope that the Indian Premier League comes out of this storm stronger and better. It really would be a shame otherwise.