It was a betting and fixing scandal in the IPL in 2013 that led the Supreme Court to order a revamp of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) administrative and governance structure. As the new dispensation headed by Sourav Ganguly takes charge after a protracted reform process, staring them in the face is another case of corruption. The Karnataka Premier League (KPL) has seen eight arrests already on charges of betting and spot-fixing. There are players and a team owner on that list, including C M Gautam, who was a pillar of the Karnataka team that swept all titles in domestic cricket recently. The Tamil Nadu Premier League is under investigation for similar reasons.
The challenge for Ganguly & co is that these are not isolated incidents. Starting with the now-defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL), franchise-based T20 events have always been a hotbed for illegal activities. Events held without the BCCI’s recognition, like the ICL and Rajputana Premier League, and those organised by the BCCI or its affiliated units, like IPL and KPL, have all been affected.
Investigators have identified reasons, but this never received as much seriousness as it deserved from the establishment. Irrespective of who the head was, the BCCI had maintained that things were under control until the SC stepped in and showed they were not.
Having spoken about bringing changes in a range of issues, from central contracts for domestic cricketers to fighting for a raise in the BCCI’s share of ICC profits, Ganguly finds himself confronting a different problem. Gautam was a role model of sorts for domestic players, for his perseverance away from the spotlight. To see him fall prey to temptation is a sign the rot is rooted deeper than thought. And these things are happening under the nose of everybody. Considering the spread of the problem, very little action has been taken so far. Ganguly has an unwanted ball in his court early on in his second innings.