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The inquiry report that indicted Gurunath Meiyappan for betting while being an official with the Chennai Super Kings was expected to dampen the spirit during the player auction ahead of the IPL’s seventh edition.

But all the eight teams made light of the whole episode and participated in the auction with gusto. It is a clear indication that the owners of the franchises believe in IPL as a brand worth continue to invest in. A total of 514 players too were involved in the auction from around the world, indicating their eagerness to be a part of the bandwagon despite all the allegations of sleaze around the IPL.

The enthusiasm is hard to categorise as a mere greed for money. It indeed is a platform for budding cricketers to rub shoulders with some of the finest players from around the globe. It works in two ways. The tournament, of course, gives a young cricketer to show his skills on a bigger platform, opening avenues for them to achieve something far more substantial. In that process, the IPL has also successfully managed to blur the boundaries between cricket’s traditional flourishing points and outposts. Here, we have the examples of players like Sanju Samson from Kerala – a state where cricket still has only nominal presence – standing alongside international players.

But that glitzy side notwithstanding, a lot of work needs to be done to cleanse the IPL from a few evils. A lot more transparency should be brought in the running of the tournament as a first step. The IPL Governing Council has decided to include the uncapped players in the auction list from this year, curtailing the possibilities of under-the-table dealings to a large extent. However, it should be treated just as a beginning, as there are more areas that need to be brought under light. The most important among them would be the ownership pattern of the franchises. While the IPL is under no pressure to reveal the names, such an act will bring more transparency to the entire tournament. The Board of Control for Cricket in India should also exercise stricter monitoring of players, agents and officials from this year to ensure that the unpleasant situations of the past seasons do not get repeated. It is fundamentally critical because the IPL is too precious a concept to lose.

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