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IPL in Dawood’s lair

By Sakshi Gupta

The first match in IPL7 was played between the Mumbai Indians and the Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Photo courtesy of Quqster

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has moved to the land of the underworld don and the first suspect for match-fixing, Dawood Ibrahim. With the Lok Sabha elections scheduled in April, IPL matches will be played outside India, as happened in 2009. And to everyone’s surprise, the Board of Cricket Council of India and the IPL committee chose the United Arab Emirates, home of Ibrahim, to be the host nation for IPL7.

Because of the general elections, security forces won’t be able to provide the necessary security cover for hosting the tournament in India.

India, in 2008, introduced a massive platform for domestic players across the globe to showcase their talents through the IPL. But recent scandals related to IPL that have come to light have put every Indian to shame. This has made IPL a much-debated topic, with experts and laypeople equally confused on whether the league is a boon or a bane for Indian cricket.

The matches are being played in three cities in the U.A.E— Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

If the Dawood Ibrahim factor is put aside, watching Indian cricketers play in Sharjah again will be nostalgic for us cricket lovers. After India’s defeat in the semifinals against Sri Lanka in the 1996 World Cup by 245 runs—a match that was linked to the infamous match-fixing by Ibrahim—our national government banned the national cricket team from playing in Sharjah.

The famous cricket venue suddenly vanished from the life of Indian cricket. But although the upcoming edition of IPL will bring back memories of the golden era of the 1980s and ’90s, it will also bring trouble in the form of Ibrahim and his men as well.

In 2013, the Delhi police filed a charge sheet in a court naming Ibrahim and his aide Chota Shakeel in the IPL spot-fixing case. Along with them, Rajasthan Royals players S. Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan were accused of spot-fixing and working under Ibrahim. They are currently banned from playing in the national cricket team.
That was followed with the arrest of Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of former BCCI chief N. Srinivasan, in the same match-fixing case. The worst part was when the news read that three Chennai Super Kings players who were in New Zealand were involved in the match fixing. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina, RavindraJadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin  were the names in every Indian’s mind, as we were trying to figure out which three of the four could be the culprits.

Raina was dropped from the Asia Cup’s squad and Dhoni missed a pre-match press conference in the Kiwi Land after this news broke.
This series of corrupt events in Indian cricket is testing the patience of its viewers. I’m sure the blind faith in the game and in their so-called idols is no more as people are smart enough to reject a contest if it is not played in the right spirit.

To add to this, IPL owners face yet another problem this year. The most important achievement of a team is to get as many sponsors as they can. But this year, five franchises—Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad—have failed to crack a deal even for front-chest sponsors. The sponsors fear the shutting down of the tournament because of the huge amount of corruption around it, but what they seem to be forgetting is that BCCI is the most powerful independent body, and it will not give this up so easily. On top of that Srinivasan is the world’s biggest cricket administrator, so it will be very tricky for the apex court and the investigation team to prove him guilty and get Indian cricket rid of him.

After South Africa was proven to be an amazing venue for the T20 tournament in 2009, why did BCCI play a gamble by choosing UAE over South Africa? It was reported that the cost of hosting in South Africa would be high. Also, since UAE and India have similar time zones, the number of viewers will be higher than if the tournament had been hosted in South Africa.

The world’s richest organization makes saving money its first priority. It did not think about the illegal money that would increase in UAE through betting and spot-fixing.

The first leg of IPL7 began Wednesday. Fasten your seatbelts to go through the thrill of T20 cricket. Also, let’s be prepared to hear more news of corruption in IPL.UAE, bring it on!

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