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By Nishad Pai Vaidya
It was supposed to be the D-Day! Indian cricket had braced itself for some potentially uncomfortable revelations as the Justice Mudgal Committee report came before the Supreme Court (SC) of India for hearing. The envelope shrouded in mystery was on everyone’s mind — after all, it is said to contain the names of six Indian capped players allegedly involved in fixing related activities. The report has potentially opened a can of worms and that has only been postponed with the hearing adjourned till March 25, 2014. There are at least 18 more days before Indian cricket is rocked by a huge scandal.
It is quite interesting to note that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) filed an affidavit earlier asking the SC to refrain from opening the said envelope. In that affidavit, they also accepted the fact that Gurunath Meiyappan, N Srinivasan’s son-in-law was a ‘Team Official’ at the Chennai Super Kings (CSK). However, they did argue that CSK don’t entail expulsion from the league as the said provision in the franchise agreement only deals with owners and Meiyappan was nothing but an official. Thus March 25 may also see CSK’s fate hanging in the balance as the Apex court may mull over Meiyappan’s exact role.
But, this delay does have a lot of repercussions on Indian cricket. The court may push the date even further, but that doesn’t save Indian cricket of the controversy and the embarrassment. For now, let us focus on the date — March 25. What are the possibilities? How would it affect Indian cricket in the immediate aftermath?
India would be right in the middle of their ICC World T20 2014 campaign in Bangladesh when the hearing would commence on March 25. By then, they would have faced off with Pakistan on March 21 and the West Indies on March 23. Their remaining two league games would be on March 28 against a qualifying team and on March 30 against Australia. Thus, if the hearing goes ahead and the envelope is opened, it could have huge implications on India’s campaign.
It was clear that one cricketer said to be under scrutiny was a part of India’s squad at the ICC World Cup 2011 and according to the report, in the “present Indian team.” What if that member is a part of India’s party at the ICC World T20 in Bangladesh? Wouldn’t it be a national embarrassment? Would the BCCI press for an adjournment again as it would be a huge embarrassment for the country as its team would compete in a world event? Then perhaps, it would only move close to IPL and ruling on CSK’s fate could prove very difficult. Anyways, there are very testing times ahead for Indian cricket.
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