The Telegraph
Sunday , June 16 , 2013

Modi wants IPL-VII to be put on hold

Birmingham: Lalit Kumar Modi, who launched the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2007-08, and turned it into a mega brand, is all for the next edition being put on hold till the “mess” is sorted out.

Exactly that has already been suggested by some back home.

“Frankly, I have no faith in the two-member commission of inquiry set up by the Board... Nothing will happen, for what we’re seeing is cronyism... Each wants to save the other... Does anybody have the good of cricket at heart?

“If the members of the IPL’s governing council had any shame, all would have resigned... They should have taken moral responsibility, but didn’t... The brand has taken such a hit,” Modi told The Telegraph at Edgbaston.

For the record, only chairman Rajeev Shukla quit. Belatedly, at that.

Modi, who has been in London ever since his removal as the IPL czar three years ago, added during one of the rain-forced breaks on Saturday: “You can’t have the IPL in this environment... If the next edition (seventh) has to be put on hold, then so be it. The mess must be cleared first.”

Shadowed by a bodyguard, Modi reiterated that both the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals, at the centre of the recent controversies, be scrapped from the IPL.

“Anti-corruption measures have to be stepped up and more personnel are needed... Merely monitoring the players a day before and on the day of the match won’t be enough,” Modi, who is “delighted” that T20 leagues have come up everywhere, observed.

Scoffing at the unconstitutional arrangement reached by the Board earlier this month, following which Jagmohan Dalmiya became interim president, Modi said: “Under what provision has (Narayanswamy) Srinivasan stepped aside for a limited period?

“There’s no post of an interim president. If Dalmiya is to be regarded as one, he should call an SGM... In one word, what’s happening is a farce. I can’t describe it any better.”

When reminded that he’d himself worked with Srinivasan not too long ago, Modi countered: “I agree, but there was so much opposition to the IPL... I had to go along with certain things... I didn’t have a choice then.”

Asked why he wasn’t returning to India, Modi replied: “Because of threats from the underworld... I’ll go back once my security team is confident I’ll be safe.”

Confident (or cocky) as ever, Modi insisted he’d “one day” be back in the Board, of which he was once the vice-president.

“Don’t know when, but I’ll make a comeback one day,” Modi signed off, as a couple of well-heeled fans sought to shake his hand.