New Delhi: Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly made light of the controversies surrounding the fifth edition of the IPL and also supported the under-fire BCCI, saying the sports body has run cricket in the "best possible way".
IPL 5 has been hit by a series of controversies, starting with the spot-fixing allegations. Shah Rukh Khan's Wankhede ban and Luke Pomersbach's molestation scandal have only given more wrong headlines to the tournament.
"The BCCI has run cricket far better than others. People may criticise BCCI, but they have to give credit to the body for managing Indian cricket really well," Ganguly told an Indian news channel.
Asked about the spot-fixing claims in IPL, Ganguly said, "Every format of the game is susceptible to such things. It depends on the individual players. I don't think any franchise will ever allow such things."
Ganguly also came out in defence of his Pune Warriors teammate Mohnish Mishra, who was shown in the TV sting operation claiming to have received much more money than the officially contracted amount. "I think Mohnish spoke out of proportion. I don't think his intentions were bad. Most of these players shown in the video also hardly played in the IPL," he said.
Ganguly then rubbished role of black money in IPL. "I have been involved in dealings during players' selection. No franchise will pay you over and above the contracted amount."
Talking about the five-year ban on Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner Shah Rukh Khan by the MCA over his alleged scuffle with an MCA official, Ganguly said, "It was a minor issue. My advice to Shah Rukh is to lie low for a few months. SRK tends to get excited and hyper, which causes emotional outbursts. This gives him wrong headlines," he said.
"It's just a small thing. SRK, after all, makes headlines. We should not discuss it. I'm sure they will sort it out. I don't think the ban will remain for five years, something that may have happened in the heat of the moment, [but] I'm sure things will settle down."
"It's difficult to ban SRK, who is an IPL team owner. I don't know what happened, but such fights happen in life. At the end, banning SRK from the Wankhede Stadium is as futile as banning Sachin Tendulkar for Mehboob Studios."
Sports Minister Ajay Maken has demanded a probe into BCCI's finances and also wants the body to be put under the purview of RTI. The Sports Ministry wrote to the Finance Ministry seeking a probe into BCCI's financial matters. Asked if BCCI should come under RTI, Ganguly said: "BCCI is a private body. But it runs cricket better than others sports bodies like hockey etc. BCCI is not stupid, they work with a lot of transparency, and I don't think it is the responsibility of BCCI to let people know how they run the sport."
Asked about Ravindra Jadeja emerging as the highest-paid cricketer ahead of the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, Ganguly explained, "IPL is a perfect example of demand and supply. It depends on a player's availability. IPL payments are not as per the standard of the player. Michael Hussey is paid far less than many others."
Ganguly also didn't rule out being available as a player for the next season, even though his team owner Sahara had announced that he would be a mentor. "I feel I can still play and contribute," said Ganguly, whose team Pune Warriors ended at the bottom of the heap in the year's IPL.
Asked if he would continue to play domestic cricket, Ganguly said, "It depends on the way forward. If I have to play IPL, I will continue to play domestic cricket."
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