ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Cricket Private Ltd.

The gladiatorial spectacle of IPL has brought the worst of our economic and cultural life to the open.

The Indian Premier League (IPL), a gladiatorial spectacle based on cricket, had promised to redefine the sport by showcasing some of the best talent in the world. It is interesting to note that while the jury is still out on whether it has managed to do that, the IPL has managed, in each of its editions, to showcase much that is rotten in our culture, polity and economy. The controversies over the ownership of the Kochi team and the counter allegations against IPL administrators are merely the latest in this parade of scandals to emanate from the league.

Money and political influence have come to be intertwined with sports globally in the past few decades. In India, cricket has been the most prominent example. The entrenching of cricket’s popularity and the successful manner in which it has ridden the telecommunication and economic waves of the past few decades have meant that the game has become a multi-million dollar business in India, controlled monopolistically by the Board of Control for Cricket in India. A recent review of its activities by the income tax department put it succinctly, “It is evident that major income arises not from the game of cricket but from the business of cricket”. With such large popularity and finances involved, it was but natural that reigning political interests would entrench themselves within it – as would those who operate in the twilight zones of the law, whether in politics or the economy. In fact, given the popularity of cricket in India, it was surprising that the level of political and economic involvement was until recently actually fairly moderate.

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