The Indian Premier League (IPL)-8 has begun. Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan’s Kolkata Knight Riders are the defending champions who won IPL-7 by beating Kings XI Punjab by three wickets in the final.
In the 2015 IPL Player Auction, out of 349 players, only 67 were hired, 24 of them from other countries.
Yuvraj Singh was the most expensive cricketer, whose services were acquired for 16 crore Indian rupees ($2.57 million) by Delhi Daredevils.
The second most costly player was Dinesh Karthik who was bought for Rs10.50 crore by Royal Challengers Bangalore.
But surprisingly some of the world’s leading cricketers failed to attract buyers. Sri Lankan veterans Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, South Africa’s Hashim Amla and New Zealand’s Ross Taylor remained unsold.
Pakistan’s players remain deprived of the chance to show their talent in the IPL. That has been BCCI’s policy since after the first IPL in 2008, in which 11 Pakistani cricketers played for different franchises.
In 2010, despite being included in the IPL auction, no Pakistani player was hired.
Interestingly, former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram is the coach of KKR.
Notwithstanding the glamour, money and a lot of cricket, the IPL has been hit by several controversies since its launch.
Before the beginning of the 7th edition in 2014, the Indian Supreme Court removed BCCI President N Srinivasan for alleged corruption in the IPL.
In November 2014, the Supreme Court ordered that Chennai Super Kings — owned by Indian Cements — should be disqualified with immediate effect and without any further enquiry.
Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan has been found guilty by the Mudgal panel of being actively involved in betting during the 2013 edition.
BCCI suspended the three players from the IPL and referred the matter to its Disciplinary Committee for further action.
But the question is: what did the International Cricket Council (ICC) do? It didn’t take the matter as seriously as it should have.
The international cricket body was very vigorous in taking action against Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt when they were found guilty of spot-fixing in England in 2010.
But in this case, the ICC not only avoided taking any immediate action but instead backed the Indian board, assuring it of “full support”, and welcomed the steps announced by BCCI.
Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf became another victim of ICC’s bias when he was stopped from officiating in the Champions Trophy in England following media reports that indicated he was under investigation by Mumbai police.
Before confirmation of anything, ICC removed him from the Champions Trophy on the basis of Indian media’s reports. The ICC did not mention what the Mumbai police were investigating Rauf for and said it had no further comment to make.
It was not the first case in IPL. The IPL-5 remained in the headlines more due to off-the-ground activities than on-field performances.
In the fifth season, five Indian domestic players were suspended for spot-fixing. Two IPL players, an actress and around 100 other persons were also arrested at a hotel for using drugs.
First, a TV channel caught five players — Shalabh Srivatava, TP Sudhindra, Abhinav Bali, Mohnish Mishra, Amit Yadav — taking bribes for spot-fixing.
BCCI only suspended the involved players and formed an inquiry committee, but no more action was taken.
Former Indian cricketer Kirti Azad started a hunger strike with several other people against the way the IPL was being managed — without any transparency and accountability.
On April 25, 2010, BCCI suspended Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman, who conceived the idea of this tournament and made it a huge success for alleged misappropriation of funds.
A case was filed against him and he was officially banned from participating in the affairs of the Board, the IPL and any other committee of the BCCI.
In September 2011, BCCI’s governing body announced that the IPL franchise Kochi Tuskers Kerala was terminated due to the failure to submit its yearly bank guarantee of Rs156 crores. Ravindra Jadeja was the biggest buy of 2012 season with $2 million. But he was banned from playing in the IPL 2010 for trying to negotiate a contract with another franchise and in turn delaying the signing of his contract with Rajasthan Royals.