The unceremonious exit of Lalit Modi from the post of IPL commissioner, right after the IPL-III finals and a few hours before the IPL governing council meet, is bound to raise questions. Here is a man who until recently was being showered with praises from all over the world for creating a world-class product but, somehow the tide has turned against him. Ironically, it all started with ‘his’ tweet about Shashi Tharoor. Little would he have thought back then that he himself would get caught in a trap that he had set for someone else.
Whether there is some truth in the allegations levelled against him, shall be known very soon. But, if true, then it would be naïve to assume that he alone is responsible for this.
Lalit Modi’s speech right after the final match on April 25 is noteworthy. Some text is worth highlighting here.
"I assure you all the decisions have been taken jointly by the governing council..."
This quote is the most important of all. Some members of the governing council are conveniently shifting the blame for all the wrongs in the IPL to Lalit Modi. How is it possible that for the past three years or so the governing council or the BCCI as a whole, were unaware of what was happening in the IPL? If they had so much faith in Lalit Modi back then that they did not even bother to question him, then what caused this sudden shift?
The very purpose of the governing council was to govern. Either they did not make an effort to find out what was happening in IPL or, they turned a blind-eye to any wrongdoings. In either case, it is clear that they failed as a governing body. If Modi has been suspended then so should be other members, who ironically are taking a moral high ground on the issue.
"Still as leader of the team, I reassure you that if there is any flouting of the rules and regulations or any other irregularities, I shall take full responsibility."
This statement of Modi is very important in the light of the charges levelled against him. As the then IPL commissioner, he was ready to accept responsibility for any violation of rules. Since he has all along taken credit for the success of IPL he ought to have taken discredit for any failures. After all, one can delegate authority but not responsibility.
By making this statement he has risen to the occasion. Either this was a marketing gimmick or he is confident about the evidence that he has with him to prove his innocence. Whatever be the case, the truth is not very far off. We can be rest assured that the media shall keep us updated by the minute.
The need of the hour for BCCI or the governing council, or in fact even Modi, is to act responsibly. If not for anything else, then at least for the sake of the brand image of IPL and Indian cricket. Also, for the sake of careers of many and crores of rupees that are at stake; especially when not just India but the entire world is watching.
(Shobhika Puri is a freelance writer and an LSR(DU) and IIM Lucknow, Noida Campus alumna.)