Expelled Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kings XI Punjab has not had the same good fortune as its Rajasthan counterpart Rajasthan Royals, which was granted a six-week stay on its termination order that has been issued by the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) in Sept this year.
The same judge in both cases Justice B N Srikrishna has withdrawn from the KXIP case after he revealed to both parties that he has represented the Wadia Group, part owners of the franchise, in several cases previously. Naturally, this puts him in an awkward position as his as any judgement in favour of KXIP would be construed as biased.
"I disclosed to the BCCI today that I was defence counsel for the Wadia Group," Justice Srikrishna said. "They said I couldn't continue, I said that was fine with me."
The news comes just a day after Srikrishna delivered the interim order in the Rajasthan Royals case, which fed the hopes of the KXIP for a similar judgement in their favour.
Justice was all set to precide over proceedings in the KXIP case on December 2nd, but the objection raised by the BCCI when it learnt of the Justice's past dealings with the Wadia Group has stalled the case.
What appears rather ironical is that the BCCI had itself chosen Srikrishna as the arbitrator when both it compromised with both terminated franchises for an arbitration hearing.
BCCI President Shashank Manohar said he will be challenging the judge's stay on the RR termination in the Bombay High Court in Dec 3, but added that there was a likelihood of including more teams in the fourth edition of the IPL which starts in April next year.
Manohar said that the Board was not perturbed by the recent turn of events in the IPL arbitration cases. "We will work it out, even if there are eight teams or ten teams in the next IPL, that's fine. If we get an order from the court tomorrow that we cannot terminate the teams and they will have to be included in the IPL, that will happen."