For cricket's sake, reveal Mudgal report

Indian cricket has reached a game-changing intersection. Two days from now the Supreme Court will act on its decision whether to make public the 13 names figuring in the Mudgal Committee report.

 The committee, which investigated betting and spot-fixing scandals in the 2013 edition of the IPL, submitted a 35-page final report on November 3 that is widely expected to lay bare the contours and the details of the scandal that has shamed Indian cricket and in particular dented the credibility of the hugely successful T20 tournament. The court will hopefully make public the contents of the report, not for voyeuristic reasons or for that matter schadenfreude but simply because Indian cricket owes it to its fans to be fair and transparent.

  Without the humongous fan-following and the support of the connoisseurs the game will be reduced to nothing along with its players and officials who manage the show. Not just that, the enormity of the scandal, which shocked millions of supporters and let down their faith in the game, makes it imperative that the findings of the committee be exposed to sunlight and let the fans see for themselves the people who took them for a ride in several matches.

The three-member committee headed by former judge Mukul Mudgal was set up in October 2013 on the orders of the Supreme Court to independently investigate the instances of spot-fixing and betting that had shocked the cricketing fraternity a few months earlier. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had attempted to set up its own panel to inquire into the scandal. But, when challenged by the Bihar Cricket Association, the court dismissed the panel. Indian cricket’s big boss N. Srinivasan, his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, besides the owner of Rajasthan Royals Raj Kundra have all been implicated in the scandal. Does the committee’s final report nail them? The grapevine has it that a top Indian cricketer figures in the list of 13.

The consequences for the game are enormous in the event of a serious indictment. The IPL, which turned out to be a stupendous success and the envy of the rest of the cricketing world, will have to make fundamental changes to negate chances of players and officials getting involved in betting and spot-fixing. No one need be surprised if fans desert the game, unless the courts and cricket administrators are seen to act tough against the culprits.

 For this reason, and for the future of cricket in India, the apex court must disclose the full contents of the Mudgal investigation. Cricket, ultimately, is bigger than the individuals who run it and play it.

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