Lalit Modi, the new Bal Thackeray!

IPL has barged into Shiv Sena territory by stopping Pakistani cricketers from playing in India

ashishs

Ashish Sharma | January 27, 2010


Lalit Modi, chairman of IPL
Lalit Modi, chairman of IPL

Just what is happening to the governance of sports in our country? On the one hand, we have the possible situation of India hosting the hockey world cup without our team participating in it because of rank bad administration. On the other hand, we have Lalit Modi's Indian Premier League (IPL), arrogant with success, humiliating a neighbouring country and creating a foreign policy embarrassment.

Bal Thackeray's Shiv Sena stopped Pakistani cricketers from playing in India by digging up pitches ahead of scheduled matches. Modi's league, thankfully, didn't damage any real estate; it simply invited Pakistani cricketers to the Twenty20 party and declined to entertain them. The impact it has left is far greater than the juvenile tactics of the Sena.

Did Modi instruct a boycott of the Pakistani cricketers at the IPL auction? Well, if the Centre did not do so (we have home minister P Chidambaram's word on that), and if the franchisees did not have a free hand in the matter (we have Shah Rukh Khan's carefully-timed disclosure on this), the buck does stop with Modi.

True, following P Chidambaram and Shah Rukh Khan's revelations, Modi has opened a hurriedly carved out window to Pakistani players. But already, Modi has inflicted enough damage by humiliating Pakistani players and, more important, embarrassing both the Indian government and the country at large.

Significantly, this is not the first time Modi has had a run-in with the government. Last year, Modi's double-speak was limited to insisting, almost until proven otherwise, that the cricketing show would go on as scheduled despite security threats across the country. This time round, the matter is more serious because the Modi-run IPL has become even more audacious and threatened to take over India's foreign policy.

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