Bangalore, May 17: Who is to blame for the mess which IPL finds itself in, after few local Indian players were caught on tape in a sting operation conducted by a TV channel? It is easy to point the fingers at those fringe players but the bigger responsibility lies with the BCCI.
Since its inception in 2008, IPL has been mired in some or the other controversy. Spot-fixing allegations are the latest to rock the cash-rich Twenty20 league.
The players who were caught in the sting operation are all almost unknown in India. They are all fringe players, mostly seen in the domestic circuit.
The IPL Governing Council and BCCI swung in to damage control mode and banned five players, pending an inquiry by Ravi Sawant, who heads the Board's Anti-Corruption unit. TP Sudhindra, Mohnish Mishra, Abhinav Bali, Shalabh Srivastava and Amit Yadav are the suspended players.
Many have suggested that the investigation authority should have been an independent one. What will emerge from a probe which is conducted by their own agency? This is the question many cricket fans are asking at the moment.
This is right. If BCCI has to set its house in order, an independent authority or ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit should be handed this case.
What is also needed is to get to the root of the spot-fixing saga and nab the real culprits. Are there many more involved in murky deals? Are franchisees clean? There are so many unanswered questions.
Also, BCCI needs to lift the ceiling of Rs 30 lakhs for uncapped Indian players. This might give way to these players to look for more money through corrupt practices.
According to IPL rules, any Indian players who has not represented the country at the international level, is entitled for only Rs 30 lakhs salary from the team owners. At the same time, a cricketer with just one cap is put in the auction pool.
For examples, a player like Saurabh Tiwary, who has played few ODIs, was in the auction last year and was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for $1.6 million. But a talented batsman like Ambati Rayudu is not part of the auction as he is yet to don the India cap.
One wonders whether anything will come out of the inquiry. Will the suspended players make more revelations in the probe? Or will the probe be ended in a few days and the involved players be let off lightly with few years' of ban?
IPL brand has already taken enough beating. Advertisers have shied away from this edition and TRPs are falling. If spot-fixing is proved, they IPL's survival is doubtful.
A poll conducted by ThatsCricket saw 64% voters feeling spot-fixing and match-fixing are part of IPL.
BCCI President N Srinivasan, who is also associated with the ownership of Chennai Super Kings, needs to take some drastic measures to save IPL from becoming a platform for fixers.
It will also be good for BCCI to educate young Indian players about fixers luring them into a trap. BCCI and their cricketers should learn harsh lessons from their neighbours Pakistan, where the country's trio of cricketers were jailed in the United Kingdom.
Even after the episode of Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif, cricketers are not learning to play the sport clean. Cricket is a Gentleman's Game and let it be played that way.