The inaugural season of the premier domestic Twenty20 tournament wasn’t all about cricket and glamour. It saw Mumbai Indians’ Harbhajan Singh slapping Kings XI Punjab after the end of a match between the two sides at Mohali.
The incident was widely covered by the media. The video footage of Sreesanth crying profusely, while being consoled by teammates became one of the everlasting images of the first season.
Following the incident, Harbhajan was slapped with a 11-match ban by the BCCI while Sreesanth was let off with a warning.
It wasn’t the only incident that raised eyebrows. Two cheerleaders claimed to have faced racial discrimination by an event management company handling the affairs of one IPL team.
The 2009 season went without any major hiccup but the decision to shift the tournament out of India created much buzz in the media.
Due to the clash of the Indian General Elections with the tournament, the government refused to ensure security for the event. Following this the BCCI called an emergency meeting and a decision to shift the entire event to South Africa was taken.
The decision was received negatively by the opposition parties with a top leader describing it as a national shame. The government responded by saying that IPL should not be mixed with politics.
The 2010 season saw the BCCI suspending IPL commissioner Lalit Modi on charges of financial irregularities.
The man behind the cash-rich cricket tournament is currently residing in London following the conclusion of the third edition of IPL. Investigations have shown that Modi has stakes in IPL teams as well. However, he claims innocence saying he left the country as there was a threat to his life.
Before the controversy erupted, he had posted on a micro-blogging website about the alleged involvement of Shashi Tharoor with the Kochi team of IPL that led to the latter resigning from his post of Minister of State for External Affairs.
Two new teams were introduced in the fourth edition of the tournament. Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Pune Warriors India made their debut finishing eighth and ninth respectively.
However, by September, the BCCI decided to terminate Kochi Tuskers due to the failure of the team owners to furnish a new bank guarantee for 2011. The board claimed that it had decided to encash the bank guarantee due to “irremediable breach committed” by the Kochi franchise.
The team, however, cried foul over the decision saying it will take the board to court. The franchise was bought by a consortium, Rendezvous Sports World, for around Rs 1,500 crore in 2010.
A sting operation conducted by a news channel in 2012 revealed how cricketers were willing to fix matches in exchange for money.
Five cricketers TP Sudhindra, Mohnish Mishra, Amit Yadav, Shalabh Shrivastava and Abhinav Bali were suspended by the BCCI after the expose.
BCCI’s Anti-Corruption Unit conducted a probe into the matter and subsequently handed punishments to the accused players. Sudhindra, who played for Deccan Chargers, was handed a lifetime ban while Shalabh Srivastava of KXIP was banned for five years. The remaining three (Mishra of PWI, Yadav of KXIP and Bali) were each banned for a year.
The sixth season of IPL raised another controversy and was again hit by claims of spot-fixing. India international cricketers, S Sreesanth along with two other players were arrested for spot-fixing by the Delhi Police.
The other cricketers arrested in the case were Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan – all of them representing Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.
As the investigations progressed, more sleaze and dirt was unearthed with the alleged owner of Chennai Super Kings, Gurunath Meiyappan, being arrested for his involvement in betting scandal.
Following his arrest, pressure mounted on his father-in-law and BCCI chief N Srinivasan to quit his post.