The Indian Premier League (IPL) turns 12 this season and the world’s biggest T20 league has seen its fair share of highs and lows. The troughs, though fewer in number, caught the fans’ imagination nonetheless. From ‘Slapgate’ to the Spot-fixing conundrum, IPL has seen it all over these 12 years but continues to grow bigger each year.
As IPL-12 gets underway on Saturday, CricketNext looks back at the five biggest controversies that rocked the T20 league over these years.
Spot-fixing and betting case (2013)
One of the biggest scandals to not only hit the T20 league but Indian cricket as well since the match-fixing controversy rocked the world back in 2000. On May 16, 2013, three Rajasthan Royals were arrested by the Delhi Police on charges of spot-fixing in IPL games. The players were India paceman S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila. All three were eventually banned for life by the BCCI.
On May 24, 2013, Gurunath Meiyappan, a top official of the Chennai Super Kings franchise and son-in-law of BCCI president N. Srinivasan were arrested by Mumbai Crime Branch in connection with illegal betting. As a result, Srinivasan had to step down as the BCCI president a year later due to a Supreme Court order.
Both Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings were banned for two years by the Justice RM Lodha Panel and only returned to the IPL fold last season in 2018. Indian cricket has never been the same since then.
Slapgate Saga (2008)
India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who was the Mumbai Indians skipper in 2008, was embroiled in a major controversy for slapping Sreesanth, who was part of Kings XI Punjab after an IPL tie in Mohali.
Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth when the latter said something to him which the Punjab off-spinner found offensive. Sreesanth was seen crying bitterly on the ground, after his team had won by 66 runs.
Harbhajan was banned from taking further part in the IPL that season apart from being banned from five ODIs as well by the BCCI disciplinary committee.
SRK’s Wankhede ban (2012)
Kolkata Knight Riders owner and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s stand-off with the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) was the talking point of the tournament in 2012. MCA claimed that the Bollywood star was in an inebriated state and assaulted its officials. A local activist had filed a private complaint in the court in Mumbai with regard to the incident, seeking action against Shah Rukh for abusing security personnel at the stadium.
Mumbai police claimed that no ‘cognisable offence’ was made out against Shah Rukh. Following the incident, MCA imposed a five-year ban on SRK. However, in August 2015, the association lifted the ban.
Lalit Modi vs Kochi Tuskers Kerala (2010)
Former IPL chairman Lalit Modi revealed franchise Kochi Tuskers Kerala’s shareholding patterns and accused Shashi Tharoor, who was Minister of State (External Affairs) back then, of conflict of interest. Tharoor was forced to resign from his post.
It also started the end of Modi’s reign in the IPL as BCCI’s special disciplinary committee pressed many charges against him, just hours after the IPL final that year. The Kochi Tuskers short stay in the IPL was ended by the BCCI for breaching its terms of agreement.
The decision was based on the franchise’s inability to furnish a new bank guarantee for 2011. So the BCCI felt it had every right to terminate the contract once the franchise had failed to produce it.
In April 2010, the BCCI turned down requests from Kochi and Pune Warriors for a reduction in their franchise fees. The two teams had sought a 25 percent waiver on the grounds that the BCCI had stated in the bidding document that each team would play 18 league matches in a season. The schedule was later reduced to 14 matches per team.
Asif’s doping tryst
Pakistan paceman Mohammad Asif was a star performer for the Delhi Daredevils in the inaugural season of the IPL. Prohibited drug Nandrolone was found in the urine sample of Asif during the period of match played on May 30th, 2008 between the Delhi and Rajasthan in Mumbai.
Asif was banned from the IPL for a year and lost the contract with the Daredevils subsequently. The Pakistani bowler was also detained at Dubai airport for 19 days in June 2008 on his way back to Pakistan from the IPL. Dubai authorities found 0.24 grams of opium in his wallet but decided, despite deporting him, the case was not worth pursuing.
2008 was his only appearance in IPL as Pakistan players were banned from competing in the IPL following the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
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