Tag Archives: Lalit Modi

IPL-6 was Fun

Multiple sources inform me that the IPL season is now over. I wasn’t sure until I saw Indian cricketers play Pakistan last night under the watchful eyes of His Majesty His Highness His Holyness Sir Lord Lalit Modi.

Jokes aside, I loved this IPL season even though I didn’t get to watch much of it. Rather, I didn’t want to watch any of it. And I am trying to erase all evidences of exclaiming “Fixed” or “I jinxed it” whenever something fishy seemed to have happened on during the IPL. You know, I don’t want to go to Tihar for 6 days and then left out and wait for judgment on it till 2017.

Oh, I said ‘jokes aside’? I lied. IPL is a joke. You must be plugging your ears and screaming *la la la la la la la* if you think otherwise. Even Lalit Modi thinks it is a joke. And he is the original puppeteer of the Indian Cric…I mean…Premier League.

I love how the insiders of the IPL work. They want in when there is something in for them. Like, Rajiv Shukla came in when they (I believe “they” means BCCI) ousted Lalit Modi. In an age where we debate the importance of DRS in a cricket game, I am not even sure Rajiv Shukla can tell a right handed batsman from a left handed one. If you need a non-cricketing fellow at the top of IPL to make ridiculous statements, why not appoint someone like Shreya Ghoshal? At least those ridiculous statements will sound sweet. Anyway, let us assume Rajiv Shukla, or his son, or his son-in-law has (vested) interests in the game. Because Rajiv doesn’t. I mean, who goes on to say that he is happy for India’s loss in England because now cricket can grow in England, who have been losing in cricket and football for the past decade?

IPL had a spot fixing scandal this year. I think this will bring an end to the IPL………………………………………….rulebook of allowing towels to the game. IPL players can’t even spot-fix properly. One of the involved players forgot to signal the over the deal was made for. So, IPL is imperfect even in the imperfect scenario.

*la la la la la la la*

IPL team owners have been involved in betting. How the CSK owner enthusiast lost more than Rs 1 crore by betting on his own team is beyond me. I think he should be punished by the long arms of bookies first, and then by the law. The RR owner also placed bets which his wife denies, he accepts, his wife blames somebody else for misusing their contact, he accepts, his wife cries foul, he accepts….maybe a few days later, his wife will also accept. Not all actors get their dialogues right in the first take.

As soon as the first breakthrough was made in the spot-fixing case, everybody from everywhere fired bullets – “XYZ should resign.” Most of the substitutions for “XYZ” were BCCI Chief, India Cements (owner of CSK) big man, the non-T20 goer, non IPL follower, Mr. N. Srinivasan. IPL big fellows are really interesting. They get selected, or elected, or sit on occupied seats themselves so that they do nothing much during the office hours and later when they are supposed to do something in a situation of crisis, they bark at others to resign, while still not doing anything about it.

I think the floor is weak and all the chairs at the IPL office are broken. Nobody wants to stand up to the situation. Nobody wants to put himself above everyone else and say “We have a situation here. Let’s solve it before it becomes a problem.” Their attitude is more like, “Dude, the coffee machine is not working again? You $%!^*$^%$!*^. Resign right away.” And then after the old fellow steps down aside, a new fellow takes up the post with no responsibility of what has happened and no ownership of the events that has dented the credibility (whaaa?) of the league. I still don’t know why Rajiv Shukla resigned. I mean, I still don’t know why he was made the IPL Commissioner in the first pace. I need at least one answer. I can conjure a blogpost for the other answer.

You know the league is absolutely funny when you are laughed at by the man who was ousted from the same league for corruption, who banned other leagues so his can be the sole runner, who hid himself in the UK where he got into more trouble by pulling another cricketer to fight in a court on match fixing charges and then lost the case and then got sued by the cricketer, which of course he claims he can’t pay because he  got bankrupt, which he tweets from his PC from a home in London where he is staying on an expired Visa while being the President and Director of a business group. Mr Lalit Modi is awesome in some ways.

I know. The IPL is saved. Jagmohan Dalmia will save it.

Phew.

-Bagrat

IPL-4 will start tentatively…

The 4th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL4) is now a few hours away from a mild kick-off. I say mild because India is yet to recover from the World-Cup-2011 victory celebrations. Even as those celebrations were on, much of the attention in India has been directed at a hunger fast against corruption.

So it is against this backdrop that IPL4 kicks off this evening.

After 6 weeks of non-stop World Cup action, the 50-over variety of cricket gives way to the 20-over circus. With India’s win in the World Cup 2011, and with the resulting outpouring of national frenzy in India, the organizers of IPL will perhaps be a bit tentative in the first few days of IPL4.

The next 6 weeks will tell us whether IPL has a future in this country. The BCCI will need to combat the post-World-Cup fan hangover, a swelling anti-corruption movement and much more.

The last year has been annus horribilis for the IPL in which we saw a litany of disasters for a league that had become the fastest growing sports brand in the world! Suddenly, lawyers made a lot of money mounting cases or fending them off. If the manner of Lalit Modi’s ouster was bizarre, it was balanced wonderfully by the many conflicts of interest of the key players in the drama that unfolded. It appeared that much of the Board was asleep at the wheel — a practice that many in the BCCI are quite adept at — in the years that preceded the unfolding drama. There were more raids on offices than mosquito-repellent cans on a supermarket shelf.

Suddenly, two teams were axed; Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab were barred. More lawyers were dragged in. More fighting through the media.

Kochi, the new team in the IPL, and incidentally, the team that started IPL’s slide towards apparent obscurity, was suddenly back in the news. Its formation had already led to the resignation of a cabinet minister after “much sweat and not that much equity” — I read that lovely phrase on Twitter, but cannot remember who to credit it to! Ironically, it was a simple Tweet that signified the beginning of the slide for the IPL! Team Kochi could not pull together a governance team or its investment assurances. And then suddenly they did, a few days before the auction took place.

The auction itself was a bit of a farce! The order in which player-groups would be opened up for auction was changed at the very last minute — apparently to suit one team. Indian domestic players were unfairly disadvantaged in the process.

Brand IPL had suffered through the year and took a severe beating. Up until then, the IPL property had grown into a marketer’s delight. There were more eye-ball opportunities than you could poke a stick at. IPL had become a heady and intoxicating mix of Bollywood, late night parties, head-banging music, peanut throwing ladies trying to attract the attention of able-bodied men and of course, some on-field cricket action too.

Fan Loyalty programs were being carefully developed. It was possible for a Team India fan to support Rahul Dravid against Sachin Tendulkar! Previous editions of IPL had busted the myth that city-based rivalry could not flourish when faced with the pressure of fierce national loyalties.

But all that was undone by a terrible year for the IPL. The organizers and team owners must climb that mountain again. And they will need to do it without the biggest lisp in the business.

Set against that backdrop, I believe IPL4 will start tentatively. It cannot afford a loud start especially after the hangover from 2 April still lingers and especially as Anna Hazare appears to be mounting an austere campaign against the parliamentary establishment in the land. But over the initial few weeks of IPL4, we will know if these tentative steps reach the cacophonous chest-thump levels of IPL-3.

CSK versus KKR:

Tonight, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will take on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) after an opening ceremony.

The KKR Team that is likely to play today is (in batting order):

Gautam Gambhir*
Shreevats Goswami (wk)
Jacques Kallis
Manoj Tiwary / Manvinder Bisla
Ryan ten Doeschate
Eoin Morgan
Yusuf Pathan
Rajat Bhatia / Laxmi Shukla
Iqbal Abdulla / Sarabjit Ladda
Pradeep Sangwan
Jaidev Unadkat / Lakshmipathy Balaji / James Pattinson

Not available because of national duties: Brad Haddin, Brett Lee, Shakib Al Hasan
Others: Shami Ahmed

This is not really a bad team in my view. In Sangwan and Unadkat, the team has a decent new-ball attack. I am looking forward to seeing Shreevats Goswami have a good season. In previous editions, he struggled to get a game at Royal Challengers Bangalore. He should shine at KKR, at least for the initial few weeks when Brad Haddin dons the green-and-gold for Australia. I’d also like to see how Iqbal Abdulla shapes up. In terms of batting, this is going to be a make-or-break season for Manoj Tiwary — a batsman who has always over-promised and under-delivered. The overseas players in the team select themselves for the initial few games — Kallis, Doeschate, Eoin Morgan and James Pattinson will probably play all initial games; and that is not a bad lot of players!

The good thing about this team (as listed above) is that all of Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary, Ryan ten Doeschate, Eoin Morgan, Yusuf Pathan, Rajat Bhatia, Iqbal Abdulla, Pradeep Sangwan and Jaidev Unadkat can bowl!

The CSK team remains largely unchanged. Its owner, who is also a BCCI chief poo-bah, went to great lengths to ensure that the winning team composition from IPL3 was largely undisturbed. The fact that it remains undisturbed is disturbing because of the manner in which the potential disturbance was unerringly protected. But that is the subject of another debate for another day.

The CSK squad is likely to be:

M Vijay
S Anirudha / A Mukund
SK Raina
S Badrinath
F du Plessis
MS Dhoni*
JA Morkel / SB Styris
R Ashwin
SB Jakati
KMDN Kulasekara / TG Southee / S Randiv
VY Mahesh / Joginder Sharma / S Tyagi

Others: GJ Bailey, WP Saha (wk), K Vasudevadas, G Vignesh
Not available: DE Bollinger, MEK Hussey, DJ Bravo, BW Hilfenhaus,

In my view, a lot will depend on how S. Anirudha and Yo Mahesh (or Sudeep Tyagi) go. The third pace bowler weakness in earlier editions had been sandpapered somewhat by the collective brilliance of the rest of the team. However, with Bollinger and Hussey absent for the first few weeks and Bravo still under an injury cloud, a lot will depend on the local players to come to the party.

Well, the scene is set for yet another edition of the IPL. Let the games commence…

– Mohan (@mohank on Twitter)

Now Modi is Twattered too…

The nursery rhyme has been re-written:

Pitter-patter, raindrops, Falling from the sky;
Here is my umbrella, To keep me safe and dry!
When the rain is over, And the sun begins to glow,
Little flowers start to bud, And grow and grow and grow!

After the recent IPL-3 saga — termed IPL-Gate or Modi-Gate here in India — I have started singing:

Twitter Twatter, big men, Falling as they cry;
There may have been a Godfather, To keep them safe and sly!
When the pain is over, And the greed begins to slow,
Little accounts start to bud, As these Twattered men grow and grow and grow!

Twatter should be made an official word in the English dictionary.

Twatter is a disease which afflicts and consumes high-adrenalin, 40-something, adult males who are high on testosterone (some with pronounced lisps) and are going through some strange and incurable form of midlife crisis, who wish to simultaneously fit in to the glitterati jet-set and govern burgeoning complex behemoths through a modern technology called Twitter, but use it so inappropriately and naively that they shoot themselves in the foot while aiming for the stars!

It is a complex disease for which there exists no cure. Moreover, there are few test cases available and hence, few pointers to the origin of this new-age disease.

The synonyms for Twatter are Lal-oor or ShaMod.

IPL-3 ended last night. But the “end of the beginning” was just starting to unravel!

Shashi Tharoor was already Twattered by the time the IPL-3 finals was upon us. A sitting Government that had been slapped around by a young Turk with a pronounced lisp had been so badly humiliated and angered that it galvanized a series of multi-Agency, multi-pronged attacks on the IPL and its parent body, the BCCI. The speed, swiftness, meticulousness, intensity and alacrity of the Governments’ response to the outing and public slapping of its junior minister was awe-inspiring. It was as if India’s pride had been hurt by the young Turk charged with running one of the richest cricket leagues in the world! One wondered what the consequences might have been had such a multi-Agency speedy, swift, meticulous, anger- and humiliation-fueled response had been delivered when 26/11 was on us. But then perhaps the Government wasn’t as embarrassed by 26/11 as it was by the open slap to its face from a Twitter-crazy cricket Czar.

The Government was hell-bent on Twattering The Lisp out of our TV screens.

In a tit for tat operation — now known in rarefied circles as a “twit for twat” operation — both twits were twattered out of our existence, at least temporarily!

As inevitable as night follows day, the twats will twit back into our lives in some altered state. However, for now, the twats will twit no more!

It was all high-octane drama that had modern-India writ all over it.

There was innuendo, suspense, speculation, plots, sub-plots, counter-plots, actors, agents, under-world Dons, money laundering, illegal betting, mysterious ladies that no one had ever heard of, fast-paced action, sleaze, slush, plush, flush and much much more. Whats’ more? All of it was carried out at frenetic pace in full public view, in the media and in Twitter-land in an environment that displayed a total lack of reason, constructive argument and logical debate.

The words, “trial by media” has been used often in the last few days. I personally think this phrase has been abused and badly misused. First, because that would legitimize the existence of “media” in India. The “media” that does exist in India is, in my view, hardly (if ever) read, seen or heard. Second, if this is the way “trials” are conducted, then, God help this land!

Lalit Modi was served with a “show cause notice” by BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla shortly after the IPL-3 Finals on 25 April. Modi was sacked as Chief Commissioner of the IPL and stripped of his role in the BCCI as vice-president. The BCCI Board Secretary, N. Srinivasan sent Modi an email to confirm the “notice”. Ironically, this was just after N. Srinivasan’s team, the Chennai Super Kings, had won the IPL-3 Finals — a game that Srinivasan did not attend.

It was a neat and swift way to stop Modi from attending a meeting of the IPL Governing Council on 26 April, which he initially challenged, saying it was “unofficial and so will not attend”. He then pleaded for “five more days”. He then called the meeting himself and sent an agenda for the meeting too!

Clearly the trusted advisors around Lalit Modi had let him down.

While Shashi Tharoor was Twattered out with some dignity and grace — leaving the door ajar for a later entry — Modi was Twattered out in a somewhat humiliating manner.

The clock had turned full circle. Many years back, Modi had hounded out Jagmohan Dalmiya from the BCCI. More recently, through the formation of the IPL, he had hounded out Subhash Chandra, the creator of rebel ICL. Modi, who helped the BCCI first fight off Jagmohan Dalmiya and next, ward off the threat that Subhash Chandra’s ICL posed — through the creation of the IPL — was now, himself, Twattered out by the very “friends” he had helped.

The BCCI is a cruel place for any person. Modi’s problem was that he started believing in the myths that had been built around him without paying too much attention to the knives that were being sharpened about him.

When Lalit Modi gave his post-finals speech last night, there was an inevitability about him. One detected a sense of despair. The defiance was replaced by justification. The arrogance was replaced by anger. Although rich in self righteousness, I was happy to grant him his last hurrah! The full text of Modi’s speech is here.

Prem Panicker argues:

And the man who built a compelling league from the ground up took the stage as “commissioner under suspension” to deliver an overwrought, self-serving speech, crassly turning the focus on himself [and cloaking himself with assorted mantles ranging from Martin Luther King to Krishna] when the spotlight should have firmly been on the cricket itself.

Modi’s speech was inappropriate, but that he made it was not particularly surprising — it is the BCCI way to put itself ahead of the cricket. Remember the felicitation ceremony at the Wankhede when India returned with the World T20 Cup? The likes of RR Patil and Sharad Pawar turned the occasion into a political rally; on the dais, the front row was occupied by Pawar, Patil, Rajiv Shukla, Niranjan Shah, Modi himself, IS Bindra, PM Runga, Dilip Vengsarkar and others, while the cricketers who had against the odds won the trophy were relegated to the third row.

I was, however, quite happy to grant Modi his place in the sun for one last time. He was a BCCI mercenary who came in, did a job, made a lot of cash and then promptly fell on his own sword. He does claim that he worked tirelessly and for no remuneration. Yes! And if that is right, I am Elvis Presley’s little toe!

Today, there is sleaze money everywhere in cricket. As Prem Panicker writes, every move in Indian cricket is viewed with suspicion and cynicism.

Even Sachin Tendulkar name gets dragged in the muck that represents India’s cricket.

An IPL game was there to be won by Mumbai Indians. Tendulkar retires with cramps for the Mumbai Indians to crumble to a narrow defeat. I got calls saying that that match “must have been fixed”. In yesterdays’ game, Sachin Tendulkar sent Kieron Pollard into bat when all hope was lost. Once again, the reason offered was that the great man “must have been on the take”.

Every move in Indian cricket is viewed with suspicion and cynicism.

The governance structure around the game stinks and a quick clean up is required. The clean up will not be affected (it is just too hard in my view), but it has to be attempted.

As a fan, I just do not trust the people entrusted with the clean up act. Because it involves the BCCI and will be reported on by the “media”. So no. I believe the game and its governance will continue to be what it is.

India deserves this mess. India will continue to retain this mess.

Meanwhile, Team India will prosper because of the quality of her players. Team India has always succeeded despite the BCCI and the “media”. The game and its fans are a complete coincidence to this body and its office bearers.

In the fullness of time some other twit will be Twattered.

Until then, let us all lie back, think of the Queen and pretend we are enjoying it.

After all,
When the pain is over, And the greed begins to slow,
Little accounts start to bud, As these Twattered men grow and grow and grow

— Mohan