The Indian Premier League (IPL) has completed 10 years and has become a landmark tournament for every cricketer to be a part of. It has become one of the most valuable sports brands in the world of sports and in terms of viewership and advertisement revenue, IPL is one of the topmost brands in India.
However, with all the money and popularity, IPL has also seen its share of controversies and cases where the name of the league was dragged through the mud. Today we look at the top 5 biggest controversies that happened in IPL over the years.
Here are the top 5 biggest controversies that have rocked the Indian Premier League (IPL) over the years:
Harbhajan Singh slaps S Sreesanth
S Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh, two of the most colorful characters of Indian cricket clashed and it created a controversy that has become a part of IPL history. Mumbai Indian and Kings XI Punjab were playing in Mohali and KXIP won the match.
However, the post-match visuals showed a teary-eyed S Sreesanth being consoled by his teammates and Sreesanth accused Harbhajan Singh of slapping him across the face. It was later found that after winning the match for his team, Sreesanth had said something to Punjab off-spinner and Harbhajan Singh found it offensive enough to allegedly slap Sreesanth.
Harbhajan reportedly went to KXIP dressing room to apologize to Sreesanth, but the IPL governing council banned Harbhajan from the rest of the tournament.
In 2013, the controversy was raked up again, courtesy of Sreesanth suggesting that the whole incident had been planned and asserted that the actual footage of the incident was with the IPL authorities but being suppressed.
Mitchell Starc and Kieron Pollard go at each other
The 2014 edition of IPL saw a big fight in the match between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. MI’s Kieron Pollard and RCB’s Mitchell Starc were having a heated confrontation which became even hotter when Pollard moved away from the batting stance, as Starc was running to bowl.
Starc became incensed and bowl the ball directed towards Pollard. Pollard in reply threw his bat towards Starc and both of them exchanged some unmentionables. It took the umpires and some cool-headed players to calm the two big men down. Pollard lost 75% of his match fee while Starc was penalized 50% by match referee Andy Pycroft.
The whole thing started when Starc beat Pollard with a quick bouncer and went up to the batsman and mouthed a few words and Pollard waved him off.
Friction with Pune Warriors and Kochi Tuskers Kerala
Kochi Tuskers Kerala played just one season of IPL in 2011. They were brought into the league in place of Deccan Chargers, but the IPL found them in breach of their contract and pulled the trigger by terminating their contract.
The formation of the franchise was clouded in mystery and controversy and even cost union cabinet minister Shashi Tharoor his post, he was accused of using his ministerial clout to obtain a stake in the franchise through his late wife Sunanda Pushkar.
A similar confrontation happened with IPL and Pune Warriors team, owned by the Sahara group. PWI had failed to pay the full franchise fee for the 2013 year and hence the BCCI en-cashed the bank guarantee. This led to the Sahara group withdrawing the franchise from the IPL and Sahara Group claimed that BCCI had treated the franchise "with disdain and in an unfair manner".
Sacking of IPL Czar Lalit Modi
On April 25, 2010, the BCCI suspended IPL chairman Lalit Modi for "alleged acts of individual misdemeanors". Modi was accused of rigging bidding deals, bribery, being involved in betting and money laundering.
IPL was the brainchild of Lalit Modi and was accused of rigging the bids so that Chennai Super Kings got MS Dhoni in the auction, and other accusations of similar notoriety. He was forced to leave the country and currently lives in London, all the while claiming that he was innocent and that he fears for his life in India.
2013 Spot Fixing
The biggest and worst scandal that has tarred the name of Indian Premier League was the spot-fixing scandal of 2013.
Three Rajasthan Royals players S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were arrested by the Delhi Police for allegedly meeting with the bookies. It was established that Rajasthan Royals’ owner Raj Kundra and Chennai Super Kings’ principal Gurunath Meiyappan, who also happened to be the son-in-law of N, Srinivasan, the then head of BCCI; were involved in betting.
Justice Mukul Mudgal panel was formed by the Supreme Court for investigating the whole scandal and submit its report to Justice Lodha committee.
In July 2015, Justice Lodha Panel gave their verdict on basis of the report submitted by Mudgal Panel and it led to the sacking of both team owners, a two-year ban on Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals and N Srinivasan had to step down from his post of BCCI President.