Lalit Modi Falls

The Modi Express has derailed as expected, following its off the track behavior in the past two-three weeks. Though the high profile IPL Chairman and Commissioner, held his willpower together till the last minute, it was very clear that he himself expected things to end like this – at least since the past one week.

Money, Power and what else?

When Lalit Modi announced his ambitious IPL plans, it was clear that the business man in him spotted the right business opportunity around the religion called cricket. In India, regardless of whether you are poor or rich, educated or uneducated, Hindu or Muslim, cricket will sell anytime. And Modi’s intentions were good as long as he wasn’t greedy and power-hungry.

From the very beginning, I have maintained in this blog that the IPL has several unethical aspects around it that Lalit Modi and BCCI was trying to tap into. The public money was being looted to make money for the cricketers, franchises and some of the governing bodies (modies?) without giving back anything to the game of cricket or the millions of poor people in this country via some kind of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). It was all about money making and they sold every possible ad slot, every possible sponsorship opportunities, negotiated and renegotiated telecast rights and what have you? On top of that, Mr. Modi (and certain big shots in Indian Politics) seem to have got facilitation perks for each and everything they did – All at the expense of the public.

Is BCCI clean?

From what it looks to me, Modi must be having solid proofs against some of the big shots and he may be waiting for the opportunity to pull down even the central ministry and not just the BCCI. I am sure, BCCI and the IPL Governing council were aware of all that Modi has been doing and probably even they themselves are beneficiaries of the game. Though, I am not in favor of privatising cricket in India, I strongly believe that it’s time to clean up the system and BCCI is run by cricket professionals (with good organization skills) rather than age-old politicians.

The Twitter mess

It all started with a little tweet from Mr.Modi that initially caused the central government to loose one of its capable young ministers. Now, it came back on him like a boomerang to knock him down.

Let God save our Cricket!

Lalit Modi takes on Shashi Tharoor and Kochi IPL Franchise

The IPL Chairman Lalit Modi has sparked a new controversy yesterday when he tweeted the details of the share holding pattern of Kochi Rendezvous Sports and even making some personal remarks against some of the beneficiaries of franchise’s share sale.

In an attempt to take on Mr. Shashi Tharoor, who was behind the successful bid of the Kochi franchise, Mr. Modi has crossed his limits and even talked about one Ms. Sunanda Pushkar who has received 18% free shares of the franchise. Mr. Modi is questioning why he was told to keep mum about the deal. In the meantime, the Kochi Franchise has voiced their disappointment to BCCI which seems to have warned Modi on his public remarks.

The big political game!

IPL is a lot more than cricket and entertainment as a billion Indians believe. It’s about power and politics. A lot of franchise owners are from the entertainment industry and bollywood but most of them are financial powerhouses who have certain political inclination. Mr Modi himself is a strong BJP pro and it’s quite natural that he wanted to take the new franchise to Ahmedabad which wasn’t quite successful. Mr Modi, after loosing the Rajasthan Cricket Association elections last year, did his very best to damage the RCA because the political power situation in Rajasthan changed in favor of Congress since last two years. His attempt to take on Mr.Shashi Tharoor, an MP from the Congress party, is no brainer but dirty politics that is also fueled by his inability to help another Modi in Gujarat with a new IPL franchise.

Modi had earlier made rules such as business houses with 1 billion net worth will only be allowed bid for franchise. This was an attempt to chuck out smaller players. And this is the very reason why a consortium had to bid for Kochi Franchise and airing a piece of his mind against the same is no business ethics.

Is Lalit Modi clean?

Well, he has received a celebrity image in the last three years. He’s also the highest individual tax payer in the country for the year 2010 who might have been the beneficiary of certain franchise deals in the past and even contracts of various entities with IPL. In the case of the Kochi franchise, probably he was helpless and hence want to unsettle the deal. Or is it like he is jealous of the franchise’s and owners’ ability to play with big bucks?

Regardless of that, it’s a shame on him to talk about Ms. Sunanda Pushkar’s private life and friendship with Mr. Tharoor. Even if Mr Tharoor is one of the beneficiaries of the deal, is it Modi’s business at all? And by making public comments about the whole thing he has made a bigger fool of himself. Overall, what lies ahead of hims is not a bright future as he cannot hold on to the IPL Chairman post for too long.

Anyhow, my opinion still is that BCCI and IPL together will kill the game by making it a business rather than sports. And while IPL is becoming more and more successful, the game is not given focus but politics (national and international) is taking over!

Here is my All-Star IPL Team!

With the IPL fever catching on, I thought of writing this little post on what I consider as the perfect IPL Twenty 20 team! Please feel free to suggest your 11 member team as comments below.

IPL all star eleven

Please note that, I have picked only those players who are available to play in this edition (IPL 3) of the Indian Premier League.

My IPL Eleven

Matthew Hayden
David Warner
Ravi Bopara
Sachin Tendulkar
Jaques Kallis
MS Dhoni (Wicket Keeper)
Andrew Symonds
Chaminda Vaas
Anil Kumble (Captain)
Lasith Malinga
Muthaiah Muralitharan
Harbhajan Singh (12th man)

I did not pick the likes of Kieren Pollard, Kumar Sangakkara, Dilshan, Dwyane Bravo etc due to the lack of form. Also not considered is technically poor hard-hitters like Yusuf Pathan, Robin Uthappa etc. My bowling team consists of more spinners and medium-slow bowlers rather than express fast bowlers who can’t do much on the Indian wickets. I have tried to pick people who are more or less consistently performing and are great team players! Jack Kallis, Andrew Symonds and Ravi Bopara are the picks when it comes to the allrounders! Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayles and Adam Gillchrist do not find a place as well in the role of openers due to inconsistent and unpredictable form. I felt that Hayden and Warner will further improve with more number of games in the opener role. Symonds’ inclusion is debatable but the only other option probably was Suresh Raina. Overall, my team looks like a bunch of veterans but unfortunately IPL 3 has been all about the vintage class on display and most youngsters have been pathetic and inconsistent throughout!

Now, what’s your IPL Eleven? I am curious about the permutations and combinations that you may come up with! Please leave your comments.

IPL is getting better

This edition of IPL is probably the best so far. Not that I have changed my past opinions on IPL. I still firmly believe that the event needs to be shortened further – something like 3-4 weeks in duration max.

What’s going good in IPL 3?

The most important thing is that the BCCI has done something about the pitches and infrastructure. The very first edition of IPL was done in completely dead and dirty pitches that was used for the entire season. For this edition, however, many pitches were laid new and the supporting infrastructure such as stadiums, fresh grass on the grounds (probably except Bangalore) etc were taking care of.

What is also good is the fact that, despite many cricketers from Pakistan and England missing, the overall enthusiasm is still getting better!

The money that keeps pouring in is another important aspect. I hear that for a ten seconds ad slot on TV, the prices are as high as 5 lakhs!

What could be better?

As I suggested earlier, the duration of the whole event needs to be cut big time. Since they are adding two new IPL teams next year, they cannot afford to play two matches each per a pair of teams. This is something that they have to do before the TV channels who took over the telecast rights sue them for lost ad revenue.

Another important thing is the pricing of the tickets. In India, the tickets may sell at any price but it’s ridiculous that for a three hour match they price the tickets as high as 30K (Is it the Shah Rukh Khan stand or something?). I tried to get some tickets in one of the Bangalore matches and a reasonable location on the stadium costs me 2700/- rupees per ticket. I mean, we are not talking about a one day match here!

It’s okay if they come up with even 16 IPL teams as there’s enough players in the world and India who could be beneficiaries but they should definitely reduce the event duration.

Another important aspect of IPL is the injury caused to international players. Even Dhoni himself was injured along with top stars like Graem Smith. This is something that’s going to affect their appearance representing their countries – especially in the forthcoming T20 World Cup!

And finally, IPL and Lalit Modi had done a lot of charity work and support for schools in South Africa last year? Why they hell aren’t they doing anything like that in India this year? Hypocrites!

Hope Lalit Modi is listening!

Flintoff, Gibbs, Bond – who’s next?

A lot of things changed the way cricketers approach cricket in the last two years – thanks to the BCCI and IPL for commercializing cricket a bit too much that pressurized players and associations to dance to its tunes. When the players started playing more and more Twenty 20 games, it meant only the following:

  • A lot more players are retiring from test cricket to focus more on Twenty 20
  • The national duty seems to be of low priority – especially in India
  • People just get injured and take a lot of break while on national duty but they play with injuries in IPL to take more rest afterwards
  • India is a mighty cricketing power that other associations find it hard to protest against IPL

Short lived test careers

It is really sad to see the great cricketers like Flintoff or Shane Bond shortening their test career span to focus on Twenty 20 and limited over games. Unless the authorities do something about it – like increasing the match fee for tests or reducing the number of Twenty 20 games – nobody would want to play test cricket.

Lalit Modi is acting stupid again…

Mr. Modi after loosing the state cricket association elections big time was obviously running out of his thinking power. There has been some tussle post elections and some of the people in BCCI seems to be already against him playing the IPL commissioner role. There has been a couple of public statements from certain authorities.

Mr.Modi is trying to avert these remarks against him by pushing the focus away from India. He is now blaming Victoria for not releasing players for IPL Season 3. Wonder whether he’s running a cricketing company for sponsors or actually trying to help cricket world wide!

I still stand by my previous statements. Ban IPL or at least cut short its duration to save international cricket!

WADA, BCCI and the Bad Boys of Indian Cricket

BCCI and some of its players have raised concerns against certain requirements by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) whereby the athlets/players are required to provide information on their whereabouts. As usual the bad boys of Indian cricket and the arrogant association amongst all have started objecting to ICC on the WADA thingie. Let’s analyze the problem from the ground up.

What exactly is WADA?

WADA was established in 1999 primarily promoted by the International Olympic Committee. The WADA anti-doping rules and procedures has been successfully in practice for the past 10 years across 190 plus nations. The disqualifications and testing-positive news that we get to hear from time to time in various events are all the results of good efforts put together by this Swiss-based agency.

What makes WADA controversial?
In 2004 WADA introduced this requirements whereby all athlets from the respective sports governing bodies need to provide their whereabouts for the weekdays which help them to test them for drug-usage arbitrarily at any point of time. Further in 2009 they extended this rule for all days of the week. This triggered some controversies however most organizations decided to abide by this rule as there was no other alternatives or proposals available.


The International Cricket Council has been practicing WADA regulations for a while. It may be recalled that the big names like Shane Warne, Shoaib Akhtar etc had been tamed under the purview of Anti-dope rules in the past. This essentially is good for the game as well as the long term welfare of the athlets.

BCCI’s stand!

BCCI in view of their players’ interest has been challenging the ICC for a while and made it clear that they do not want to proceed with the WADA rules. I have the following view on BCCI’s decision and some of its spoilt brats’ comment in the media.

  • BCCI has this dirty habit of challenging anything that everything that the ICC brings forward. This is mainly driven by arrogance and cash that they have. Everytime some controversy has been triggered by an Indian – whether it’s for good or bad – the BCCI used to armtwist ICC its way. It’s more of an inferiority complex or (old) colonial mindset whereby whatever being said and done by the British is questioned
  • A number of other sports bodies in India itself are bound by WADA rules and all athlets respect it. The biggies like Abhinav Bhindra and tennis stars have made it clear that it’s good for the game? Cricketers are no exception to any rule and they are not gods as some of them think
  • If the game of cricket has to flourish and spread they have to abide by the international rules and otherwise it will be still a game played by 10 or 12 commonwealth countries. Further, if they have to include the game back in Olympics sometime, WADA has to be respected as well
  • BCCI has to help ICC in taking a call on WADA rather than objecting it as ICC’s brainchild. This is purely shortsighted thinking
  • Some of the cricketers feel that it’s an infringement to their privacy and security. Many cricketers are already having less privacy when they are escorted by the commandos and security personal. Can WADA’s whereabout rules make it worse? Afterall, the whereabouts information is strictly confidential and not shared with anybody other than the testing group itself. Also, when a sportsman play for India, they are dedicating their life to play for the nation. These cricketers are acting funny because BCCI is still not a government body though they claim to play for India

All in all, I feel that all cricket bodies should help ICC to adopt WADA and if there are amendments required that should be adopted at a broader level and not just within the Cricket bodeis. After all, cricket governing bodies have barely any visibility in the global arena of sports!