File photo of cheergirls during one of the IPL 6 matches. (BCCI Image)
New Delhi: "The Indian Premier League is a smouldering cesspit ... the sunniest of places for the shadiest people." - Robert Craddock ripped the million-dollar league apart in his column for the Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph after the spot-fixing scandal that has once again put a serious question mark on the credibility of the IPL.
Writing in his column, Craddock began by taking on the aftermatch IPL parties, saying "they [players] come out after dark at the notorious IPL parties where all involved can pluck a drink or maybe something a little stronger if that is your wish. The lights are dim, the music loud, the drinks strong, cold and plentiful. Famous faces flash past in the shadows."
He went on to indicate that it was at one of these parties that the Rajasthan Royals' player Sreesanth, arrested in the case along with his two other team-mates at the IPL franchise, was offered a bait. "It was here that the first tentacles of illegal bookmakers reportedly offered their poisoned fruit to young fast bowler Sreesanth ... What mindless fools they [tainted players] have been. Sreesanth's annual IPL salary of $681,000 could have bought him three or four large houses in his home region of Kerala but he wanted more."
The column also said that the training programmes for players during the tournament are 'sloppy' and the Australian players 'often return fat' due to 'reckless eating habits'. "Very few Australian cricketers have gone to the Indian Premier League have come back better cricketers," Craddock wrote.
Without giving out the name, Craddock said "one young Australian player in India is behaving with increased recklessness as his moral radar scrambles with a large pay cheque which far outstrips his ability."
He also took the IPL officials on. "IPL officials have been infamously slow to take proper anti-corruption measures and their reticence has always been seen as a sign that they were scared of what they would find."
Craddock went on to add that in corruption-hit India, it is hard to track a transaction trail. "Cricket corruption is hard to detect in India because all deals are done in cash. There is no transaction trail and no footage of a man coming of a TAB."
The column also hinted at the ICC Anti-Corruption unit being incompetent. "Players take risks with the confidence of knowing the ICC's corruption unit have had about as much success finding criminals as Mr. Magoo would have spotting a flea in a featherbed."