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All it needed was someone with the valour to bell the cat. That has come courtesy of a handful of eminent legal luminaries; renewing hope that all is

All it needed was someone with the valour to bell the cat. That has come courtesy of a handful of eminent legal luminaries; renewing hope that all is not lost when decision-making is the sole prerogative of the judiciary. That it has delivered the ultimate killerpunch, which is certain to leave the cricketing fraternity gasping for breath, is a welcome development. When viewed pragmatically, Tuesday’s developments augur well for cricket overall, particularly if the mandarins are really serious about cleansing the nation of the sport’s ill-gotten dubious distinctions.

It is the nefarious cunning of some vested people that actually spelt disaster for a well-conceptualised event and was a slap on the face of the sport that is otherwise revered as a gentleman’s game. In historical parlance, July 14 of this year will occupy the same momentous space as the Red Letter Day in 1932 when India played its first Test or the other watershed day when Kapil’s Devils conquered the cricketing world in 1983 with a performance that was straight out of Ripley’s Believe it or Not pages. The Indian Premier League (IPL) launched amid global frenzy and a take-off on the revolutionary, but hugely, successful Kerry Packer’s pajama cricket has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, barring the year it was launched, because of the roughshod attitude of the bosses running the sportainment with a verbose that was seemingly self-promotional.

That the fans embraced the newest format with a hitherto unknown wholeheartedness added to its brand value. If IPL has made millionaires of the players, including some who could never possibly don the national colours, it gave birth to criminal intent with crooks from Rogue’s Gallery calling the shots and fixing outcomes from behind the scenes. Earning a fast buck that came interlaced with a heady mix of wine and women were easy traps for the cricketers, most of who belong to middle class sections. What came as godsend for the operatives to unfold their modus operandi was that words like national and team interests never existed in the mindset of these vulnerable, but materialistic, players and their godfathers coming under the garb of administrators.

Justice Lodha is absolutely right in his ‘institutional view’ erudition that if cricket is bigger than individuals, and that financial loss to players and franchises is not of significance. Suspensions and bans may not serve the purpose because criminality will seep in, in one form or the other. What is paramount is a foolproof administrative system that can instill fear from the foundation level. Contrary to the apprehensions of the prophets of doom, the IPL will survive. As a fascinating leveler, cricket has survived Bodyline, apartheid and Packer, and so will it with Indian cricket's latest turning point, After all, no player (or administrator) is greater than the game. The show will go on, hopefully with a transparency and cleanliness that will restore the gentlemanly image of the sport, sooner than later.

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