Desh Gaurav Sekhri's Not Out -- A Balanced Account of IPL
Sports attorney Desh Gaurav Sekhris book Not Out! The Incredible Story of the Indian Premier League delves into the murky details of the working of IPL and ways by which it could redeem its image after several controversies.
If cricket is a religion in India, then Indian Premier League is its most pompous celebration. Since its inception in 2008, the T20 competition has made heroes and villains alike out of men, who often deem demi-god status during its two-month long duration.
Desh Gaurav Sekhri's book - 'Not Out! The Incredible Story of the Indian Premier League' delves into details of the richest cricket tournament in the world - IPL - which was supposed to be an advertisement of Indian cricket's might, but left the Board of Control for Cricket in India with some egg on its face.
One notion that Sekhri has maintained throughout the length of the book is that people might love or hate IPL, but it can never be ignored.Â At the start of the book, Sekhri mentions how the financial model of IPL brought never seen before investment in cricket and players but is quick to add that 'at no point was any effort made centrally to create a development league so as to farm and develop youngsters.'
Truly, the astronomical salaries of lesser-known players in IPL is intriguing, but it has its flip-side too. As Not Out points out, the dream of financial surplus has 'only lowered the motivation to perform at the domestic level and grind it out.'
Sekhri backs his claims with facts too, highlighting the 2013 spot-fixing scandal that damaged the career of 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup winning cricketer, S. Sreesanth.
"There was complete absence of any orientation or recourse for players who were approached by bookies or others during initial seasons," Sekhri writes.
He goes on to dissect the damage brought by Chennai Super Kings team official Gurunath Meiyappan and Rajasthan Royals' Raj Kundra involvement in betting, along with players like Rajasthan's Ankit Chavan, Ajit Chandila whose name cropped up in spot-fixing.
The book dedicates one full chapter on 'Conflict of Interest' -- 'the single most relevant term that is synonymous with Indian cricket in 2016.'
Sekhri questions not only the involvement of BCCI officials in the IPL franchises, but also analyses the controversial Clause 6.2.4 of the BCCI regulations.
The clause in its revised version read, "No administrator shall have directly or indirectly any commercial interest in any of the events of BCCI, excluding IPL and CLT20."
It led to people like ex-BCCI chief N. Srinivasan being involved in the franchise matters, directly or indirectly. And that led to a question of transparency.
The writer is also critical about players being picked through an auction process. While most teams 'retain' the best players 'year after year'. Sekhri accuses that this does not create a level playing field and hamper the image of the IPL.
Finally, Sekhri mentions how the next edition of the IPL, which has inspired other sports like football, tennis, wrestling, kabaddi to start their own franchise-based league.
He writes 'the biggest threat to the IPL is the IPL itself and the board that controls it. Fix that...and the IPL has a fighting chance to recover.'
Overall, the book is for someone who wants to go deep into the intricacies of IPL's working structure that the improvements that it needs to have.