Just when one thought that the controversies concerning the IPL had subsided, the League is imbued in a fresh one. The Mumbai Indian franchise has expressed concerns over the manner in which the player auction which was held earlier this month, had unfolded.
The management of the MI maintains that the rules for the auction were tweaked at the last moment to favour mainly the Chennai Superkings team. The names of players up for bidding were announced in such a way that franchises that were in the know about which categories (batsman, fast bowlers, wicket-keepers and all-rounders) were coming up next, could plan their bidding strategies accordingly.
MI also pointed out that the main beneficiary of this move was the Chennai Superkings and have expressed grave doubts over the role of the franchise's owner N Srinivasan, who is seen to be in a position of conflict of interest. Mr Srinivasan is also a member of the IPL's governing council, the secretary of the BCCI and its president-elect.
It is also of interest to point out that with regard to Mumbai Indians' claims, CSK was one of the only teams to retain most of their core side from the last season. The team bought back batsmen S Badrinath and Michael Hussey, off-spinner R Ashwin and pace bowler Doug Bollinger, thus pre-empting the need to go after really costly players, as MI ended up doing.
This is not the first time N Srinivasan has been suspected of rigging the auction. In 2010, a leading news channel got hold of an e-mail exchange between former IPL chairman Lalit Modi and Mr Srinivasan. The communication seemed to suggest that the two had fixed the IPL players auction of 2009.
Modi had assured Srinivasan that he had convinced the Rajasthan Royals not to bid for English all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, so that Srinivasan's team could snap him up. CSK did exactly that, buying Flintoff for a staggering $1.55 million. That price tag made him the most expensive player alongside Bangalore Royal Challengers' Kevin Pietersen. But nothing came off the claims and Srinivasan quietly kept his post.