Remove the stain

Remove the stain

Temptation will be high to begin a smear campaign against the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the Indian Premier League in the aftermath of a sting operation conducted by a private TV channel that aired some alleged corrupt practices by a few players. Since the inception of the IPL in 2008, it has been singled out by many as a fertile ground for fixing and other evils, and the latest revelations might have come as a potent weapon for its critics. For BCCI, the news came as a massive blow, as the governing body has time and again underscored the ‘clean’ nature of the competition.
The charges have also surfaced at a time when the IPL was gradually wooing the fans back to cricket after the Indian team’s dismal efforts in England and Australia.

BCCI has shown courage to deviate from its normal dilly-dallying ways, taking a firm step this time by suspending five players — Shalabh Srivastava, Abhinav Bali, Amit Yadav, TP Sudhindra and Monish Mishra — pending investigation by Ravi Sawani, head of BCCI’s newly formed Anti-Corruption Unit and former chief of the ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit. It is indeed a commendable step but questions about the absence of an anti-corruption wing thus far can’t be ignored, especially when the board has a private league like the IPL in its fold. The BCCI so far has depended upon the ICC for anti-corruption surveillance even for a domestic tournament like the IPL and formed its own anti-corruption group only after the world governing body made it mandatory for all its affiliated boards to have their own domestic anti-corruption code. Australia, England and Pakistan were the first cricket-playing countries to do so even before being told by the ICC.

But forming its own ACU and suspending the uncapped players are only the baby steps. Big strides have to be taken in the coming days to wipe out any traces of mud on the IPL and to sniff out any big fish involved in the scandal. BCCI president N Srinivasan admitted that some evidence has been found against some players. His willingness to admit that flaws exist is a good sign. In the past, BCCI has shown a notorious streak to sweep some burning issues under the carpet with the dexterity of a politician, disappointing the fans of Indian cricket. Hopefully, the apex cricketing body in the country has set a new trend.

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