NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court placed batting legend Sunil Gavaskar in charge of the troubled Indian Premier League (IPL) on Friday after forcing scandal-tainted cricket board president N Srinivasan from office.
Three days after warning Srinivasan they would order him to stand down if he tried to cling to power, a panel of judges announced that 64-year-old Gavaskar would now take charge of the board’s flagship tournament.
Gavaskar would be made ‘interim working president’ with responsibility for the IPL when it begins next month, while Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) vice-president Shivlal Yadav would be in charge of the board’s day-to-day administration.
The T20 competition has been embroiled in allegations of illegal betting and spot-fixing, including those against Srinivasan’s son-in-law.
However it was not immediately clear if Gavaskar would stay on beyond the tournament, with a lawyer for the BCCI saying only a current board member could take over on a permanent basis.
Gavaskar has already indicated his willingness to step up to the helm of the most powerful body in world cricket.
A lawyer for the board meanwhile said the BCCI “fully endorse(d) the order passed by the Supreme Court today”, saying it was in line with its own proposals to the judges.
Teams under probe allowed to play in IPL
In its announcement, the court also said that the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals – the teams at the centre of allegations of illegal betting and spot-fixing in last year’s competition – would be allowed to take part in this year’s IPL.
The same panel of judges said Thursday that both sides should be barred from the tournament which starts in Abu Dhabi next month.
The U-turn will be a huge relief to the board, with The Times of India estimating the total loss resulting from the teams’ suspension could have been as much as $1.5 billion.
“It would have affected the tournament as well as millions of cricket-loving public,” CA Sundaram, one of the board’s lawyers, told reporters after the hearing. “We are happy that the court has not passed any order that would have interrupted the tournament.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2014.