In the end, the much awaited Mudgal report didn’t bare any unknown skeletons in the closet and it may even have given a breather to the sidelined BCCI president, N. Srinivasan. But it raises more questions about the mess Indian cricket finds itself in. For there to be any closure, a thorough investigation is needed into each of the issues raised by Mudgal.
The report said that Srinivasan wasn’t involved in betting or fixing, but accused him, and four other BCCI officials, of being silent despite being aware of a code of conduct violation by a player. What exactly was the violation and if it occurred in the IPL, shouldn’t silence be deemed to have brought disrepute to the league? The report established Gurunath Meiyappan was indeed a team official of Chennai Super Kings and that he indulged in betting. It also said that Raj Kundra, Rajasthan Royals co-owner, was in touch with bookies and did bet. Clause 11.3 (C) in the IPL franchise agreements allows for a franchise to be terminated if, “the franchise, any franchise group company and/ or any owner acts in any way which has a material adverse effect upon the reputation or standing of the league, BCCI-IPL, BCCI, the franchise, the team (or any other team in the league) and/ or the game of cricket.”
The term “material adverse effect” isn’t defined in the agreement but it would be fair to say that illegal betting should count as an adverse effect. The report also raised questions about the IPL’s chief operating officer, Sundar Raman, whose power and influence isn’t restricted to the T20 league but extends to the running of Indian cricket in general. It said he was in touch with a bookie through a season. Though Raman has said he wasn’t aware of the credentials of the caller, questions arise about the nature of those conversations.
Mudgal’s report also says that several players were involved in the sordid mess. There is mention of an “individual 2” and his relationship with Meiyappan. Did this player pass on team information? Was he involved in something more nefarious? Similarly, the case of “individual 3”, whose violation of the code of conduct has been mentioned, needs to be further probed. There might be more big names involved but hiding them won’t do Indian cricket any good. The argument that revealing players’ names will lead to an erosion of trust in the game doesn’t hold. Isn’t it always said that the game is bigger than the individual? If there are a few bad apples then it’s time to throw them out and cleanse the game.