Feroz Khan/Zeenews Sports Bureau
Since the T20 extravaganza kicked-off in 2008 amid much media hype, IPL has provided a healthy dose of entertainment to its fans and cricketers alike. It has been a darling of the news media not just because of the run-fests but also because of the fodder it provides for them to chew on, generating controversies one after another. Be it allegations of match-fixing or cricketers slapping each other or owners taking offense for almost everything, IPL never fails to deliver.
Here we take a look at some of the most prominent controversies that IPL has seen in its five years of existence.
The clouds of match fixing cast a dark shadow over Indian Premier League after a sting operation conducted by a private TV news channel claimed to have uncovered shady deals between team owners, players and management. The video footage of the sting showed players discussing the possibility of spot-fixing by bowling deliberate no-balls during a match. The five players caught were suspended by the Indian cricket board. One of the players, Mohnish Mishra admitted to the claims made and apologised while another, Sudhindra Srivastava, claimed innocence. Ravi Sawani, head of the BCCI`s anti-corruption unit was asked to conduct an inquiry and submit a report in 15 days.
Bye-bye Lalit Modi
Former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, a central figure in masterminding the T20 jamboree, was relieved of his duties in 2010 following charges of misconduct including financial impropriety, betting, money laundering and more. It all started with a Tweet, in which Modi wrote about the owners of the new IPL franchise Kochi Tuskers Kerala breaching confidentiality agreements. Following this, the then Minister of State for External Affairs Dr. Shashi Tharoor had to resign. Modi has since then vehemently denied allegations of any wrongdoing.
IPL`s stint with controversies is as old as the tournament itself. The first edition of the slam-bang cricket was launched with much fanfare and garnered wide attention. Adding spice to the cricketainment that was being dished out, Mumbai Indians Harbhajan Singh slapped Kings XI Punjab`s S Sreesanth on 25th April. The reason given was that Harbhajan got agitated when Sreesanth approached him with the words `hard luck` after Mumbai had suffered their third loss in a row. The video of the footage—the pacer sobbing while his team-mates consoling him-- became one of the long-lasting images of the inaugural edition. As fallout of the fiasco, Harbhajan Singh was suspended for the remaining 11 matches.
Don`s drunken brawl
Kolkata Knight Riders` co-owner and Bollywood actor, Shahrukh Khan was embroiled in an ugly spat with the MCA officials following his team`s win over Mumbai Indians on 16th May 2012. Shahrukh wasn`t present in the stadium during the match but came to pick up his daughter and wish the team members after the match got over. The actor allegedly manhandled the security, hurling abuses at them in an inebriated state after being barred from entering the ground. A scuffle ensued and a police complaint was filed against SRK. The actor claimed to have been provoked after security guards manhandled a group of children which included his daughter. The head of MCA, Vilasrao Deshmukh, later announced that Shahrukh`s entry to the Wankhede Stadium was being banned for five years.
IPL player arrested for molestation
Royal Challengers Bangalore`s Luke Pomersbach was arrested for allegedly molesting an Indian-American woman and beating up her fiancée at a Delhi five-star hotel on 17th May. The troubled Australian allegedly misbehaved with the woman after a drinking session at her room. When intervened, Pomersbach attacked her fiancée who ended up in a hospital. This news came just a day after KKR`s co-owner Shahrukh Khan`s scuffle with cricket officials at Wankhede stadium.
The much publicised IPL after-parties or IPL nights were premium ticket events where a common man with money to spare got a chance to shake a leg with his/her favourite cricketer and Bollywood star. All was well till a certain South African cheerleader`s tell-all blog revealed the other side of the party in 2011. Gabriella Pasqualotto described cheerleaders as ‘walking porn` and about the "flirtatious" and "inappropriate" behaviour of the cricketers, naming a few of them as well in her blog. The 22-year-old was sent home after this on the grounds of privacy concerns. She, however, termed her sacking as being a `joke` saying everything her blog said was already known. Some even suggested that player`s underperformance was in part due to these late night events. After the suspension of Lalit Modi, the new commissioner, Chirayu Amin, scrapped the parties altogether.