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

Tehelka - - PROS&CONS -

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

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