After a sensational Sunday that saw the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) scrap two Indian Premier League (IPL) teams, cricket circles on Monday were abuzz with discussions on “what happens next”.
While franchisees preferred not to comment officially on the issue of the BCCI dumping the Rajasthan Royals and the Kings XI Punjab, saying it was an issue “between the Board and the respective franchise”, most did wonder about the future of IPL in case either of the two dumped franchises took the legal route.
“All we are concerned about at the moment is whether IPL IV is on course or not,” a top franchise official, told the Hindustan Times. “Let’s hope that the tournament is not affected in case of a legal battle.” Another team official said that while the two teams being scrapped was “unexpectedly drastic”, the “law had to take its course”.
“We (the franchises) are all in touch with each other and are discussing the matter, but frankly, if they (Punjab and Rajasthan) broke the rules, they will have to pay.
But the controversy is not good for any of us, or for the business.” Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra had told NDTV on Sunday that they would surely pursue the matter in the court, if needed.
However, a top BCCI official clarified that the tournament would not face any problem even if someone challenged the decision in court. “IPL IV will be held as scheduled, with the first match to be played within a week of the World Cup final,” the official said. “How can Kundra move court? He is not an original bidder anyway.”
Despite most parties remaining tight-lipped, the day wasn’t without drama, as a franchisee owner forwarded two rather sensational text messages, allegedly sent by BCCI secretary N Srinivasan, to members of the media.
The texts were rather aggressive and threatened teams with dire consequences if they failed to support the Board and showed any partiality for former IPL chairman Lalit Modi’s company.
After the texts played out on television through most of the day, the BCCI officially denied any such text message being sent out, through an official statement late on Monday evening.
Alleged SMSes (From Srinivasan to a team owner)
“As we have been saying. Please align yourself with us. Or everyone will get the same taste of the medicine we have given today to RR and Kxip. Owners should not think they are above the Bcci”
Alleged second SMS
“You should be happy we allow you to participate. We know how to clip your wings. President and I have decided we will run the IPL the way we want to and after all its our property. You can either be a part of it or we can find a way for you to get out. We will throw Lalit Modi and anyone attached with him. So best avoid talking to him.”
BCCI’s statement following the SMS drama
The BCCI has just received information that some messages, allegedly sent from Mr N Srinivasan’s cellphone to the IPL Franchisees, are being circulated. The Board would like to clarify that no such messages have been sent. This is clearly a case of foul play, and complaints to that effect are being lodged with the the Police.