The next IPL auction could be a historic one. Can you imagine the mad rush for MS Dhoni? Or for that matter, for Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, Steve Smith and Shane Watson? Rumours are already abound that Dhoni is on Mumbai Indians’ radar, and that he could go for as much as 50 crores!
It wouldn’t be historic alone, it would be vulgar, too. It is the unlimited scope of money in the game that has been the root cause for many financial irregularities. But be that as it may, the times ahead are anything but bleak for popular stars…
There is no need to go into the details that have plagued IPL over the years. Every Indian, worth his cricketing salt, knows that there is a lot going wrong in the world’s richest T20 League. We know who the culprits are, and what they are accused of.
N Srinivasan, Gurunath Meiyappan (Srini’s son-in-law), Rajasthan Royals’ co-owner, Raj Kundra (and by extension, Shilpa Shetty), and a few more, have received well-deserved bans. Their hands are dirty, punishments suitable.
Srinivasan has been banned from holding any post in India’s cricket board, BCCI. He served as president for three years from 2011 – fair judgment.
The Supreme Court-appointed panel also suspended Royals co-owner Raj Kundra, and Gurunath Meiyappan of Super Kings, from all cricket-related activities for life – absolutely reasonable!
But suspending CSK and RR for two years is clearly a mockery of justice!
A cornerstone of modern democracies is the robust protection granted to innocent individuals. As Blackstone puts it: it is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer (1766).
Here, there are more than one ‘not guilty’.
Have you heard of Chennai Super Kings’ Eklavya Dwivedi? I bet not. He is a 26-year-old right-arm medium bowler, who suddenly finds himself caught in the web of conspiracy. He has never accepted money from any bookmaker, nor has he ever offered any. He lives an honest life, dedicated to cricket. He is not very young, in cricketing terms, and was fortunate to have found a place in the team. His life was going in the right direction…
Dishant Yagnik. Vikramjeet Malik. Sagar Trivedi… Rajasthan Royals players whose dreams were shattered with one sweeping judgment!
The lives of these fringe players stand in doldrums. The future is bleak and there is no surety that other teams will bid for them. While superstars like MS Dhoni, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja will find enough suitors, players like Eklavya Dwivedi and Dishant Yagnik may never get to play in the IPL again. They have been dealt a fatal blow and cricket can only be poorer from here on.
Where is the justice for these players?
Protecting the integrity of the game should not spell doom for the future players of India. I am not worried about the future of Dhoni and his star company, I am concerned about the fate of players who had nothing to do with any kind of corruption. Why should they pay the price for corruption committed by the high and mighty of the Board?
By suspending Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for two years, former Chief Justice of India, honourable Rajendra Lodha, may have over-compensated in delivering justice. For years, questions have been raised, holding IPL accountable for a number of financially corrupt practices, but hardly anything was done. A great deal of time has been wasted on the guilty parties, proving their guilt, when their offences were as good as proved beyond any reasonable doubt.
Justice Lodha may have felt the burden of delivering swift, merciless justice. Perhaps, in the process, he failed to consider the repercussions of his judgment on players who had no role to play in any misdemeanor.
It is one of the travesties of the Indian justice system. Banning comes naturally to us. We think it is an answer to all the problems. Banning has only always ended careers and dreams! The teams could have been heavily fined, with warnings!
The Justice Lodha judgment could prove to be fatal for the beleaguered eight-team League. How will the BCCI replace the two outgoing teams? Failure to find competitive replacements would lead to considerable loss of revenues for the league.
Who will snap Dhoni, and for how much?
100 crores, anyone?