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To think of it, IPL 7 was almost a non-starter. Mired in the betting and spot-fixing controversy, the Supreme Court (SC) threatened to stop the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals from participating in this edition.
Caught off-guard, some senior BCCI officials took the call that if it came to that, there would be no IPL 7. For, they felt a six-team tournament would reduce the event to a farce, with no time to accommodate the 60 players, throwing the event in complete disarray.
The SC, though, didn't go ahead with its threat, but reprimanded the BCCI for the running of the league, using very strong language. It took away the control from the administrators and handed the reins of the IPL to Sunil Gavaskar.
It seems to have had the desired effect. For the first time in the history of the IPL, notorious for being in the news for the wrong reasons, it has been a controversy-free tournament.
Something might surface later, but the tournament passed off peacefully, which has never been the case in the earlier six editions.
Focus on the game
In a refreshing change from the last two editions, the talk was only about cricket ahead of the final. In 2013, once the spot-fixing and betting scandal was unearthed by the Delhi and Mumbai Police, the final was reduced to a sideshow. Similarly, in 2012, a TV sting of five IPL players had taken the sheen off the event.
The final night of 2010 was all about the upcoming sacking of Lalit Modi. In 2009 at South Africa, there was controversy over a group of franchise owners getting involved in a brawl over lewd remarks made against a woman. There was also the unending Sourav Ganguly-John Buchanan saga. Not to mention the cases over FERA violations.
In between, there was Luke Pomersbach's arrest over an incident in a bar, the Twitter-gate, which cost Shashi Tharoor heavily, and teams getting scrapped.
The inaugural edition had kicked off with the slapgate controversy involving Harbhajan Singh and S Sreesanth.
Kieron Pollard and Mitchell Starc's on-field spat could be the only sore point of the seventh edition. Otherwise, emotions were in check on the field.
Raking up controversies was part of a carefully worked out strategy under the first IPL chairman, Lalit Modi, who believed nothing sold better than drama and it attracted more eyeballs. He was sacked but the formula he set, seemed to have been lapped up new regimes.
However, after the Apex Court's severe rap on the knuckles the message seems to have hit home.
More importantly, delivering a clean tournament could help restore the confidence of fans ahead of what can be a season of more turmoil with the Mudgal probe ready to resume.