DUBAI // The expulsion of Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab from the Indian Premier League (IPL) could mark the start of the wider purge that is necessary to clean up the governance of the lucrative Twenty20 league. That is the view of Adam Gilchrist, the Australian wicketkeeper who led the Deccan Chargers to victory in the second season of the 20-over competition in South Africa in 2009.
"There are obviously areas which need better governance and control and I hope the IPL product in general will be able to move forward now, because I think there is a lot that everyone can benefit from," Gilchrist said. Gilchrist became the second Australian to captain a winning side in the competition when he guided the Chargers to the title. The first, his celebrated former teammate, Shane Warne, is now without a team and facing an ignominious end to his playing career, after his Royals franchise were thrown out by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) this week.
Both ousted franchises are expected to seek legal recourse in order to be reinstated. Shilpa Shetty, one of the co-owners of the Royals, stated on her Twitter page that the BCCI was wrong to terminate their franchise agreement. "Our books are clean and legal, I would challenge anyone to say otherwise, which is why we are shocked," she said. The ruthless cull of two of the eight original franchises, with an inquiry into the start-up Kochi organisation also ongoing, has left the future of the cash-rich competition in doubt.
Gilchrist believes a compromise could be reached by which the expelled franchises could still play in the next IPL tournament, which is scheduled to start in April. However, he admits the fourth season of the competition will barely resemble those that have gone before, given that all the players were already set to be re-auctioned in January anyway. "There is a lot of uncertainty as to how many teams will be there, when it will be played, what the format will be, and the auction process," Gilchrist said.
"There was a lot of uncertainty about IPL 4 as regards team composition, well before these two franchises had their licences taken away. "There is still a lot to sort out, and I don't think how the landscape looks now will be how it looks in April. "I suspect there will be changes prior to the start of the next competition and I hope there will be a compromise there. "It is a shame to see two of the inaugural teams just taken out of the competition.
"It will have a ripple effect in the tournament for all the stakeholders in the game. Hopefully there is a way they can sit down and sort out their differences." Gilchrist was doing a guest stint on commentary during the second Test match between India and Australia when news of the expulsions broke. "I was stunned, like everyone," said Gilchrist, who was visiting India in his role with the University of Wollongong.
"[Winning the IPL] ranks very highly on my list of personal achievements and memories in my cricketing career because of the unique structure of the competition and playing in a team with seven different nationalities. "I definitely got a feeling of fulfilment from achieving that." email@example.com