Over the years, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has become the best platform for the Indian youngsters to showcase their talent and work on their craft by rubbing shoulders with the stalwarts of the game. This has only been possible because of the fact that IPL is indeed the most successful domestic T20 league in the world. However, it was the fixing fiasco in 2013, which put some stains on the integrity of the cash-rich league and because of that, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) feels that having the opening ceremony of IPL 2018 just 90 minutes before the tournament opener which will be played between defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Wankhede Stadium can become a gateway for potential fixers to get up close and personal to the players.
According to the current plan of April 7, the organizers have been asked to end the opening ceremony at 7:15 pm and the field will be cleared up by 7:30 pm, as the two skippers – Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni – will then come out for the toss. Meanwhile, it has also been clearly mentioned that the two teams will come onto the field to train at 7:15 pm and one of the bowling ends needs to be kept clear so that it doesn’t hamper the teams’ preparations.
Th current program states that all those who come in to remove the props and other materials will be their on the field with the players from 7:15 till 7:30. This timeline is long enough foranyone from the organizing team to try and approach players. And this is exactly what worries the BCCI as they don’t wish to take any unnecessary risk as hundreds of workers and crew members will be on the field of play.
As quoted in CricketNext, a senior BCCI official said that treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry has in fact written to the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) asking them to look into the matter and ensure that there is no scope for possible fixers to act as workers or crew members and approach the players as those working to make sure the field of play after the show would have 15 minutes with the cricketers before the game gets started.
The treasurer’s letter read, “As I had stated in the IPL GC, the existence of close to 1000 additional people (workers, crew etc.) on the ground shortly before the game is to be played there may be an anti-corruption risk that we must be aware of in order to mitigate that risk. This is a thought for the consideration of all of you. This communication is, of course, subject to any decision or view of the Committee of Administrators.”
It is indeed a genuine concern for the BCCI officials, as the CoA has decided that the opening will be held on April 7 with the likes of Ranveer Singh, Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez and Parineeti Chopra performing at the Wankhede Stadium. One of the officials said, “The most important section where the captains take the pledge to abide by the spirit of the game is anyway being signed the previous day. So, it doesn’t make sense why the opening is being hosted prior to the match. With so many people on the field of play wearing accreditations, it will indeed be very easy for any tout to mix in the crowd and pose as an official, to clear the ground post the opening ceremony. The CoA must look into this and ensure top security to keep dubious people out of sight.”