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How the rot spread as BCCI watched

Exactly one year back on 16 May, BCCI cracked whip on five cricketers in the wake of a sting operation exposing the dodgy nexus between spot-fixing and IPL. On Thursday, the dark side of cricket once again surfaced with the arrest of three Rajasthan Royals players for allegedly fulfilling promises made to suspected bookmakers in this year’s IPL.

While it’s unfair to term IPL untenable because of Thursday’s bookings, the ever-growing series of scandals, ranging from ownership of franchises, I-T investigations to the dicey player-bookie relationship, have surely tarnished its image.

IPL may not directly encourage betting, as betting is still illegal in India. However, getting in touch with a bookie over the phone who could put your money on the odds is no longer difficult. Just like the game, the betting racket has also evolved over the last decade. Fixing the outcome of Test matches require the involvement of many players, including the captains of both sides. But T20 is different. Here bookies need to fix at best a couple of players.  With the advent of ‘spot-fixing’, a player can under-perform without drawing suspicion of his teammates. By organising 76 T20 matches in less than two months, IPL has opened a whole new horizon for bookmakers. It’s the susceptibility of the T20 format which makes IPL so vulnerable.

What makes the entire scenario more murky is BCCI’s role. It’s not possible such unfair dealings are being conducted right under the nose of the world’s richest cricket body. However, one only needs to look at the structure of the board to understand there’s more than that meets the eye. Not only does the BCCI president own a IPL team, as the head of the board he can keep all undesirable issues under wrap. Even Sony, the official broadcaster, is appointed by the board which possesses all the recordings.
Aritra Mukhopadhyay

Aritra Mukhopadhyay

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