The Telegraph
Saturday , March 29 , 2014
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We are relieved: Patel

New Delhi: In less than 50 minutes, the despondent mood changed to beaming faces at the Court No. 5 of the Supreme Court, on Friday.

The apex court’s interim order in the case related to IPL match-fixing was found not as harsh as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials had apprehended.

At 10.15 in the morning when the court of Justices Ananga Kumar Patnaik and Ibrahim Kalifulla was opened for the visitors, the Board secretary, Sanjay Patel was among the first to step in.

Patel looked visibly tensed and preferred to take a seat in the third row in the visitors’ gallery. He was joined by another senior BCCI official, Ratnakar Shetty. By the time the judges came in at 10.40, the huge courtroom was jam-packed.

The interim order, which Justice Patnaik dictated around 11.30 am, lifted the spirit of the Board officials.

“We are relieved… It’s a good day for cricket,” said Patel minutes after the order made it clear that neither Chennai Super Kings nor the Rajasthan Royals would be barred from playing IPL VII.

“We were confident that the situation was in our favour and the honourable court would do what is good for cricket. The game is on a strong wicket in India and it would continue to be so,” Patel said.

Asked whether the allegations of match-fixing would tarnish the reputation of the game, Patil said: “I don’t think so… Cricket is still the most popular game in this country and these allegations will not damage the reputation of the game.”

On Sunil Gavaskar being appointed as an interim president of the BCCI in relation to the IPL VII, Patel said the BCCI officials would see how to run the game as per the court order.

Aditya Verma, the Cricket Association of Bihar secretary and petitioner in the case, was a bit depressed as the bench did not go by its Thursday’s proposals that CSK and Rajasthan Royals would be barred from playing in the IPL VII.

Verma, however, put up a brave face. “We are happy with the way things went at the court today. Rome was not built in one day. Our crusade against corruption in cricket will continue.

“The suspension of (Narayanswamy) Srinivasan as the Board president is the first step. Things will move in the right direction when the case resumes on April 16.”

The BCCI counsel, Chetpet Aryama Sundaram, felt what the Supreme Court had said in its interim order was much on the same lines as proposed by the BCCI. He also refuted allegations against India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

“I think comments on Indian captain that he tried to cover-up was most unfortunate, reckless and were never ought to have been made. It is sad that such comments got such extensive media coverage at a time when he is captaining the Indian team.

“The team are playing very well and we are all looking forward to Team India bringing the trophy from Bangladesh,” the board counsel said.