Soon after fans finished watching a fascinating Test series between England and Australia dominated by Steve Smith’s exploits with the bat, cricket in India woke up to a different tune. The Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) is under the scanner for betting and fixing. It has been confirmed that the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) Anti- Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) is probing the matter. It shows that in spite of the best efforts of the officials, illegal practices continue to stalk T20 leagues. The TNPL is an addition to a list that includes the Indian Premier League and similar enterprises in South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Caribbean islands.
Big names in different countries including some international stars have been suspended, monitoring of suspicious elements has been heightened and governing bodies have launched awareness programmes starting from the junior levels. But the franchise-based T20 leagues have remained vulnerable to such activities. A nondescript competition called the Rajputana Premier League was stopped a few years ago after the ACSU established links of bookies with certain teams and players. News of TNPL turning out to be another den is still shocking, considering that its organiser, Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, is aware of the situation and is known as a body that takes precautions.
That the virus continues to penetrate the layers of protection is alarming. It shows that despite tightening up, exemplary punishments and educational seminars, it is still possible to entice players and coaches and influence matches. The smaller scale of events like TNPL acts as no deterrent. Rather, it helps these elements get closer to the action because of the less elaborate security measures. If preliminary reports are to be believed, some prominent names from Tamil Nadu cricket are being investigated. After a lull, Indian cricket is again staring at the ugly face of corruption. With the administration unstable due to complications arising out of the reform drive, this has come at a bad time.