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Will Tharoorgate affect the IPL?

espnstar.com's Ayanjit Sen tries to find out whether the on-going Tharoor-Modi issue will affect the IPL or not.

It has been one of the sheer joys of life, to listen to the tremulous sounds of birds echoing through the first rays of sunlight.

However, the twitter we know of late has been rather obnoxious and signified a rude wake-up call and a verbal form of mud-slinging.

At this point, Shashi Tharoor and Lalit Modi are both waiting, one to be heard by the Prime Minister, and other to hear from the meeting of the governing council to learn their fates.

The latest melodrama has all the gripping elements to ride high on TRP ratings - cash, politics, power, the other woman in an alleged affair and an item girl - to ensure that the Indian Premier League grabs ample newsprint as much as the action on the field, on an afterthought a tad extra from that vintage exhibition running from evening to midnight.

So how will all this affect the IPL?

The surface will still remain as calm as ever without giving any hint of undercurrents that threaten to hijack the ship away from the shore.

Cricketing wise, it will continue to throw up fresh talents and will act as a torch to allow the common man to identify people peeping out from the dungeons of domestic cricket.

The Dhonis, Pollards and Tendulkars will still get the big bucks in the next auction. The families will still supersede their saas-bahu serials and listen to DLF maximums and Citi moments of success being uttered as frequently and unabashedly as television characters come out with ‘punarjanams’ (re-births) and plastic surgeries.

What has been affected severely is the credibility of a league that has taken the cricket world by storm. And there’s no substitute, repair or replacement to the dent it has created in the swelling coffers stashed with millions of dollars.

The green bills have forever been the envy of other countries, and the grudge of all other Olympic associations within India, but the IPL remained sacrosanct. Now cracked to pieces, it doesn’t necessarily reflect outside the exact picture of what was originally presented.

The IPL is a financial boat that was cruising all the while, before a small leak has made it wobbly, dangerous and unsuitable for a long sail. None of the eight franchisees has been able to break even till yet, and that is when ticket sales, disregarded in lieu of television money, has been pushed to maximum limits and sold with special privileges.

That is when the back of the helmet, left and right, the leading arm and the non-leading arm, the chest and the back, the apparel and fashionable wear, the corporate boxes have all been sold. The revenue has stagnated, and the only way out for most franchisees is to go public with IPOs to pump in the money, and profits. And that’s where the credibility comes into the picture.

A team owner is still denying that he’s interested selling his stakes even as a consumer durable owner goes to press admitting he’s near to clinching the deal. Another franshise has gone global with the intentions of getting into the public shares.

Will the common man invest in a team that he isn’t sure about? Invest in a series of consortiums who have their base elsewhere and its stakeholders with little reputation? While he might damage his vocal chords cheering for Yuvraj Singh and simultaneously back Kolkata to win the next IPL, statistics have shown that an average Indian is very meticulous about his investment.

The love of the game alright, each one of them is riding with a business interest - two more have hopped onboard with a heavier baggage. When BCCI launched its IPL against the ICL, it was their credibility that ensured all players return under their flagship, and it was successfully and glamorously mounted.

The glamour will still be there - last heard Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan is rehearsing for a special dance show for the closing ceremony, daily Bollywood divas are touching down on the cricket field to remain in the limelight but not anyone is talking about its future credibility.

Recent examples have been more detrimental - Sir Allan Stanford ran at the call of taxmen and his billion-dollar T20 tournament merely embarrassed the ECB for endorsing it.

Big money is not the only way to run sport. Emotions run it, but unfortunately businesses don’t emote. That’s the real problem.

The match fixing saga that rocked world cricket was purportedly fixed by the ICC, done and dealt with forever.

Yet, any tame loss has doubts creeping in, off and on there’s a slight noise about claims in county cricket.

It’s human to keep doubting, and the lurking sense of apprehensions about the big moolah may be a huge blow to the BCCI that takes pride in its financial clout and its IPL baby.
 
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