The IPL chief executive went on and on about the importance of fairplay and sticking to the rules on Saturday. We doubt there were any takers for it. Not among the franchisees at least. After all, the current mess is because most stakeholders in the tournament have believed ‘Rules are meant to be broken’.
Sahara India joined the bandwagon quite late (in 2011 edition). But, following the dealings from the periphery, the temptation to ask to tinker with the rules would be a natural reaction for them. They will be right to say that the precedent had been set long before they entered the fray.
Sahara India is only the latest to try that stunt. They are just the sponsors of the Indian team, we have had examples of the rules being rewritten in such a way so as to ensure the interests of the current Board chief’s team are taken care of.
There have been enough cases of the rules being flouted in the IPL and its offshoot- the Champions League T20, that the franchisees have the right to believe that it is a given thing.
At first there was to be an entirely new auction after a three-year period. Even though, the majority of the franchisees wanted it to stay that way, still, a new rule allowed teams to retain four players. Only N Srinivasan’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI) benefited from it. The two got to hold on to the two biggest brands in Indian cricket. CSK got to retain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and MI got Sachin Tendulkar.
These were the only two outfits to retain their full quota of four players each. At whose behest, it was done is anybody’s guess.
Among the rest of the six franchisees, a total of only four players were retained.
It was followed by MI easily being able to convince the governing body to be allowed to field five foreigners in the Champions League. The reason was injury toll, but one of the names in the injury list was firing on all cylinders in Mumbai’s under-22 selection trials. Vijay Mallya’s Royal Challengers Bangalore then got their pound in the Champions League by playing both Dirk Nannes and Chris Gayle, who had actually come in as his replacement.
Rest assured, by doing what they have done, there will be no end to this sort of dramas because rules simply don’t count in the IPL raj.