cricket / short form

The Credibility of the IPL is in tatters

But does anyone really care?

On the one hand, you have those who don’t really mind about off-field dramas, about scandals and the backroom deals that spawned the IPL. They just want to see some sixes, see Lasith Malinga shatter some stumps, and maybe see Chris Gayle dance gangnam style. Or the cheerleaders dance Gangnam style. Or frankly anyone dance any style. Its cricketainment after all. What do those fans care if the game is rigged?

The sponsors may worry about their credibility, by being attached to a league plagued with scandals. But probably not. The IPL is showbusiness, and at the moment it is dominating the news. All publicity is good publicity? Probably, unless you are one of the players who has been outed as a cheat. But that doesn’t really affect the sponsors of the games (or moments within the games, but that is a rant for another day) because the show will go on. It must, too many people have too much money at stake.

On the other, there are the purists. The ones who watched the test at Lords rather than subject themselves to the crass tedium of the IPL. They will not be shedding tears about the spectre of fixing in cricket, because they already don’t really think the IPL is cricket. If the scandals cause the league to go under, all the better.

But I struggle to see how anyone could look at the IPL with any credibility whatsoever anymore. Here is a full list of the scandals that have engulfed this edition:

1) Sri Lankan players are banned from playing in Chennai, and what a surprise, CSK have finished top of the table and are nearly certain to win the competition.

2) Spot fixing. Five players arrested so far, perhaps more to follow.

3) Umpire Asad Rauf has been removed from the Champions Trophy, either because of his terrible decisions in the IPL, or because he made those terrible decisions because he is bent. Either way, Rauf is under investigation from the Mumbai police.

4) Now there is a suggestion that CSK as a franchise is involved in the betting, which is embarrassing as they are owned by the President of the BCCI, N Srinivasan.

5) Finally, Sahara has pulled their team, the Pune Warriors, out of the tournament, as it was costing them too much. More to the point, their franchise fees are far higher than anyone else has to pay.

Where can the IPL go from here? As said earlier, too many people make too much money off it for it to simply be abandoned as a tournament. But should the cricketing world feel comfortable associating itself with the IPL? At the very least, should players feel safe going to it, knowing they may well be targeting by agents of betting syndicates? And should stats from the IPL be considered legitimate, when it is widely acknowledged that the fixing that has so far come to light is probably just the tip of the iceberg?

But who cares right, because money.

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