As money was spent without inhibition by team owners on the first day of the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction in Bengaluru, legendary left-arm spinner Bishan Singh Bedi slammed the cash-rich T20 cricket league, saying he hasn’t seen “anything so cheap going so expensively”. “IPL is responsible for bringing in somebody called Justice (R.M.) Lodha (into the game). I have never known anything so cheap going so expensively,” Bedi said while speaking at a session at the TATA Steel Kolkata Literary Meet on Saturday. After the 2013 IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal, the Supreme Court appointed a committee under ex-Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha, to determine punishments for those named in the Mudgal Committee report and to recommend reforms for cricket in India. Since then, the Lodha committee had banned Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and the Rajasthan Royals (RR) from competing in the IPL for two years, also banishing Gurunath Meiyappan of CSK and Raj Kundra of RR for life from taking part in any BCCI-related cricket activities in India.
The Lodha panel also recommended sweeping reforms to cleanse cricket in the country, which, to date, are still to be implemented in toto. In his sharp criticism of the league, which will enter its 11th year, Bedi said he has nothing against cricketers raking in the moolah but alleged that the tournament had become a place for money-laundering. “How can one wicket cost one-and-half-crore (rupees). Can anybody justify that? One run for 97 lakh? “I have no complaints about the money part of it. Players need to get more money playing for the country than playing for a wretched club.
“Do we know where all this money is coming from and where it is going? If this is not money-laundering I don’t know what is,” Bedi said. The 71-year-old former captain added that the IPL is an easy target for match-fixing. “You find a person like Virat (Kohli) who has been retained for 17 crore. He deserves it. But in the same dressing room, there will be a youngster who will fetch 10-15 lakhs,” he said. “Now he will try to catch up with Virat Kohli. Now how does he do it? There are ways and means to do it and there is a platform which encourages you to do it — which is match-fixing. IPL is an easy target.”In May 2013, the Delhi Police arrested three players, S. Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila of the Rajasthan Royals on charges of spot-fixing. Bedi signed off by indicating that he would never get involved with the IPL. “People have accused me that I am maligning IPL as I don’t get anything out of it. I said see if you can rope me in, you can try,” he said.