CHENNAI: Other than shocking the cricket fraternity, the news of CM Gautam and Abrar Kazi being arrested for spot-fixing in the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) has sent a reminder that things remain vulnerable in such competitions in India. Despite preventive measures and emphasis on awareness programmes, the T20 leagues continue to fall prey to temptation and money.
The KPL is in the headlines because of the number of arrests. The Tamil Nadu Premier League is under the scanner. A few years ago, a couple of private leagues in Rajasthan were stopped for encouraging malpractice following intervention from the BCCI’s Anti Corruption Unit (ACU). With the number of such competitions on the up, the risk is also increasing.
Involvement of various types of middle men, carnival atmosphere, players not having emotional connect with the franchises they represent along with the handicaps the ACU faces like no power to detain or interrogate are generally cited as reasons why unwanted activities in the T20 leagues are difficult to contain.
Former BCCI ACU chief Neeraj Kumar adds that with these factors, lack of preventive measures is also a reason. “For international or IPL games, arrangements are more stringent. But in other tournaments, the control mechanism is far lax than it should be. In the last few years these exercises haven’t been foolproof.”
The former chief of Delhi Police, who led the 2013 IPL spot-fixing and betting investigation, also thinks that important matters lack clarity when it comes to these leagues. “Sometimes it’s not known what the franchise owners really do or how they are selected. These things make it difficult for the ACU to keep track of who’s doing what and it what capacity.”
This is a welcome the new BCCI office-bearers were not prepared for. Although there was no statement for the media, an official said such developments damage the board’s image, at a time when they are trying to rebuild. It was learnt that a meeting might be called involving all top officials to address the matter.
“Indirectly or directly, these incidents affect the BCCI’s reputation. The number of arrests in KPL is increasing. This will be taken up with urgency. If need be, the ACU’s methods of operation and the awareness programmes have to be modified. There should be exemplary punishment for the individuals found guilty. This matter has to dealt with and there will be a meeting soon to address the issue,” said an official.
Justice Mukul Mudgal, who headed the first investigation into the 2013 IPL mess following a court order, felt the new BCCI dispensation should be given time. “Let’s not be critical of them right now. They have just come to power and it’s good to have a former player as president. Instead of saying that domestic tournaments are becoming vulnerable (to corrupt practices), let’s see what the new office-bearers do.”
In Rajkot on Friday for the India-Bangladesh T20I and busy with the day-night Test coming up, Sourav Ganguly may soon have his hands full with something he was not ready for when he took over as BCCI president last month.