- Feb 29, 2024
- Mar 2, 2023
The Indian Premier League has revolutionized cricket, injecting high-octane entertainment and astronomical sums of money into the sport. But amidst the glitz and glamour, shadows lurk. Over the years, the IPL has been marred by controversies that threatened its very foundation, raising questions about fair play, governance, and the influence of money.
Undoubtedly the darkest chapter in IPL history, the 2013 spot-fixing scandal exposed a sinister underbelly. Three Rajasthan Royals players– Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila, and Ankeet Chavan– were accused of deliberately bowling no-balls in exchange for money, orchestrated by bookies. The involvement of team owners Gurunath Meiyappan (Chennai Super Kings) and Raj Kundra (Rajasthan Royals) further amplified the shock. Both franchises were suspended for two seasons, players faced life bans, and the BCCI’s image was severely tarnished. This scandal exposed the vulnerability of T20 cricket to match-fixing and led to stricter anti-corruption measures.
The 2008 IPL witnessed an ugly on-field brawl between Harbhajan Singh (Mumbai Indians) and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth (Kings XI Punjab). After a game between the two teams, Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth, triggering an altercation that saw players and umpires intervene. Harbhajan received a full season ban and the episode highlighted the emotional intensity of the IPL and the need for better player conduct guidelines.
Sourav Ganguly, the ‘Dada’ of Indian cricket, led Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural IPL season. However, his removal as captain after the team’s underwhelming performances sparked outrage among fans. Accusations of mismanagement and internal politics within the KKR management swirled. Protests erupted, and Ganguly’s departure left a bitter taste in the mouths of his supporters. This episode raised questions about player treatment and transparency within franchises.
In 2012, Royal Challengers Bangalore player Luke Pomersbach was arrested in Delhi for allegedly molesting a woman and assaulting her fiancé after an incident at a hotel in India. The victim had alleged that the Australian had invited himself for some drinks with the couple in their room. She said that after a while, she decided to leave the men alone and go to her bedroom. However, Pomersbach followed her and misbehaved with her and when her fiancee intervened, he assaulted him. He was released on bail but had to surrender his passport. The case was later settled out of court and the charges were dropped.
In 2012, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders, was involved in an altercation with a security guard at the Wankhede Stadium after KKR’s victory. The incident, captured on camera, showed Khan allegedly using abusive language and manhandling the guard. He was subsequently banned from entering the stadium for five years. This episode sparked debates about celebrity behaviour and the need to maintain decorum within sporting venues.