The Australian Ball-tampering controversy has taken the cricket world by storm. The confessed wrong-doings have portrayed the complete team as the conspirator in the evil plan of obtaining the advantage by polishing the cricket ball. The Australian captain’s IPL team Rajasthan Royals had also been in a similar controversy five years ago.
The graver and much darker controversy that marred Rajasthan Royals and led to its two-year suspension was the spot-fixing scandal in 2013 IPL. Three Rajasthan Royal players – S.Sreesanth, Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandela were arrested for agreeing to play as per the directions from bookies.
Indian cricket historian Boria Majumdar’s new book ‘Eleven Gods And A Billion Indians‘ published by Simon and Schuster, which is soon to be launched across the bookstores, revealed some anecdotes that occurred during the spot-fixing saga.
The Former CEO of the Jaipur-based franchise, Raghu Iyer‘s recollections of that fateful early morning call in his hotel room, which altered the world for him. He was staying at the Oberoi at that time, near the home ground of Mumbai Indians.
In the chapter titled ‘Sky Fall’ (Page 181), Iyer revisited the incidents of the early morning of May 16, 2013. “We were staying at The Oberoi, and I got a call around 5:30 am from duty manager of the hotel. My wife picked up the call and passed it to me in a jiffy.
His duty manager called at 5:30 AM in the morning, telling Iyer that several policemen, including an assistant Police commissioner, were waiting downstairs and he was summoned as soon as possible.
Not understanding what had befallen, the former CEO considered it to be a prank planned by one of the comedians that he met the previous night for a sponsored shoot.
Iyer then confronted the Delhi Police and its officials who told him about all the details that they had collected so far and the about misdoings of the players involved. The Police then proceeded to arrest the three tainted players, two of whom were staying in the same hotel.
Iyer broke this news to Rahul Dravid at 8 am, after two hours of his interaction with the police. “I informed Rahul at 8 am and he was distraught. He had hands on his head and just couldn’t speak. To see a player of his caliber and stature go through this was painful.“
Majumdar provides another anecdote when a team from Rajasthan Royals went to meet the Supreme Court appointed the three-member committee headed by former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha along with Rahul Dravid.
The author writes (Page 218): “Unlike the Chennai team, which was represented by a battery of lawyers, the Rajasthan team had sent Rahul Dravid among others, to put forward their case before Justice Lodha and his team” He then goes onto quote a source close to the panel, who corroborated the incident.”It was very interesting to see two different strategies being adopted by two different franchises.
While Chennai was going the legal route, Rajasthan had Rahul Dravid with them for the very first meeting. Dravid had no role and it was very clear that it was an attempt to make an impression on the committee,” the source said. “Justice Lodha, he went on to conform, was very polite but clear with Dravid.
He wasn’t needed in the meeting was the message that was conveyed to Dravid reasonably early and was respectfully told that they would call on him as and when required,” the author writes.
The Rajasthan Royals will make their return to the IPL this year under the captaincy of Ajinkya Rahane and the mentorship of Shane Warne. Steven Smith was sacked from captaincy after the sandpaper scandal.