Starting this summer, cricket will be run by a man whose Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise is bang in the middle of a corruption storm. Let that sink in.
Gurunath Meiyappan, the son-in-law of cricket’s arriving overlord, N Srinivasan, was found guilty of betting on the IPL and proven to be an official of the Chennai Super Kings after attempts were made to distance him from the team. Those were the findings of a voluminous report put together by a court-appointed committee led by Justice Mukul Mudgal.
Srinivasan has tried to play down Meiyappan’s actual role in the franchise, but Justice Mudgal was in no doubt. That finding, after the scandal last season in which five players were charged for spot-fixing, plunges the league into further disrepute.
As preparations for its seventh season get into gear, it has rarely been free of controversy and taints. Now its top side is under suspicion, a team led by the India captain, who, the report revealed, tried to fudge Meiyappan’s role in the franchise.
If cricket’s future is indeed headed toward domestic Twenty20 leagues, the IPL will lead the way. How scary is it that the league and its top side is gathering this kind of attention?
The report highlights the lack of oversight by the BCCI’s anti-corruption unit, as well as that of the ICC. Nothing, though, is as damning of the flaky nature of the league as the admissions by IPL CEO Sunder Raman that no effort had been made to determine the ultimate owners of franchises.