MILKING THE CASH COW OF CRICKET TO ITS BARE BONES
The BCCI was quick to suspend five players caught in the spot-fixing scandal. But it has turned a blind eye to the larger malaise of corruption plaguing the IPL
FINDING CONTROVERSY with the Indian Premier League IPL) has never been an arduous task; they usually arrive with much cacophony and conviviality on a red carpet at your doorstep. Right now, they are in a rambunctious celebratory mood, courtesy a sting operation by India TV channel that shows various relatively nondescript (to the “average viewer”) players making lurid confessions about spot-fixing. Among them is TP Sudhindra, who was the highest wickettaker in the Ranji Trophy in the 2011-12 season.
Twenty20 has given birth to a new hybrid, the ‘instant IPL superhero’; this super-beefed muscular lad has no ambitions to earn the coveted national cap, he just wants a few seasons of IPL frenzy. IPL gives him windfall earnings, local stardom, media access, several brands on his luminous jersey and, if lucky, even a Bollywood arm candy. Given the mercurial nature of the game, just one or two stunning knocks, or an acrobatic dive can create that transitory titan overnight. After all, an hour of fame is worth a lifetime without a name, right? But there are risks.
The players are subject to irrational unpredictability; the best example is Paul Valthaty, who was a headlinegrabber for Kings XI Punjab last year, and is now twiddling his thumbs in his suburban Mumbai home watching IPL on a television screen. Kamran Khan is picking hay in his brother’s farm; just the other day he was in the august company of Shane Warne in plush five-star comfort. The youngsters are aware that IPL is like a dicey mid-cap stock. They