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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Cricket

Dark night is over, feel IPL stakeholders
Sai Prasad Mohapatra , Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 29, 2014
First Published: 01:04 IST(29/3/2014)
Last Updated: 01:07 IST(29/3/2014)

Shaken, stirred and rattled, these were some of the emotions on Thursday among different stakeholders of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Two teams, who between them had won four of the last six editions, faced an uncertain future which, by extension, meant that the tournament would at best be truncated, at worst not held at all.

For now though the dark night has risen. The show will go on just as it was planned. By keeping Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in IPL7, the Supreme Court on Friday threw a lifeline not only to these franchises but also to the tournament that starts on April 16 in the UAE.

Probe must go on
“The probe must go on but it would have been unfair to those players who, for no fault of their own, would have suffered. It is their legitimate way to earn a livelihood and it’s only fair that they participate while the probe is on”, said an official of the Indian cricket board requesting anonymity given the sensitive nature of the issue.

For the broadcaster too, the nightmare of losing two teams in the competition which would have translated into fewer matches and reduced advertisement revenue, Friday’s order came as a relief.

“Our intensity to showcase the tournament was just in the right place, only that some development over the past 24 hours had presented a slightly new picture. But we knew that our efforts wouldn’t get affected by this development and now, after the Supreme Court’s order on Friday, it is very assuring, we can now go ahead with the tournament as we had started our preparation in right earnest,” said Prasana Krishnan, Business Head, Multi Screen Media, the official broadcaster.

At the Rajasthan Royals’ camp too the mood was upbeat. “We had enormous trust in the Supreme Court. We are happy that the fairness has prevailed. There was no case against our franchise in the first place; we had complied with what was expected of us. We kept out those players who were allegedly involved in fixing and we extended our co-operation for everything needed from our side. We were convinced that our plea would be considered and it was much to our satisfaction,” said a top Rajasthan Royals official who too requested anonymity.

So, business as usual it may well be now but will the IPL’s following stay just the same when the umpires call play? Time will tell.


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