Since the inception, the benchmark T20 tournament in the world, Indian Premier League has been part of a lot of controversies. Be it the slap-gate incident in 2008 or the case Luke Pomersbach sexually harassing a girl in 2011 or Shah Rukh Khan’s big fight in Wankhede and even though the tournament has got a lot of publicity because of these controversies which has made it grow in the longer run keeping cricket as the heart of matter, some of those controversies have been very ugly and dampening for the image of the tournament.
In this series of articles, we focus on the controversies of IPL and we start with the biggest of all controversies – the spot fixing incident which took place back in 2013.
The exposure of the scandal
On May 16, 2013, Delhi Police arrested three cricketers from Rajasthan Royals accusing them of being involved in spot fixing during one of the IPL matches. Those three cricketers were S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan. While Sreesanth was arrested from his friend’s house, other two were arrested from the team hotel. Following this, Rajasthan Royals suspended the contracts of these 3 players. Sreesanth was an established Indian player who won the world cup twice for India and this exposure became a national headline in no time.
What is spot fixing?
For many of you, who are not familiar with this term, spot fixing is a type of fixing where players only fix few balls instead of fixing an entire match. The outcome of that ball is determined in advance by the bookies and players just have to follow the directions given by them. In Sreesanth’s case, he was directed to bowl a wide ball and tuck his towel in his trouser as a sign to let the bookies know that he is going to bowl a wide so that they can win their bets. 3 years prior to this incident, 3 Pakistani cricketers named Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt were also arrested for being involved in spot fixing. Amir had bowled few no balls on purpose as directed by the bookies.
What happened next
The incident was followed by long judicial procedure after which Chandila and Chavan were declared not guilty of spot fixing in 2015 by courts. However, all three of them were still banned for life from playing cricket. The ban on Sreesanth was later lifted by Supreme court in 2019. But there was a different and much more larger affecting angle to this entire controversy as well.
The CSK and RR angle
The controversy further blew up when police arrested first Gurunath Meiyappan, the principal owner of Chennai Super Kings and son-in-law of N Srinivasan who was the owner of CSK and later Raj Kundra, the owner of Rajasthan Royals in the accusation of being involved in betting, cheating and fraud. Kundra later confessed to these charges and he was disowned by the franchise after this. Both CSK and RR were terminated for two years ; in 2016 & 2017 because of the involvement of their owners in betting.
The name of some of the CSK players including Dhoni himself was dragged into this matter but nothing too conclusive about the name of the players could come outside of it. This controversy shok the entire cricket community and complied BCCI to make stricter anti corruption rules.