Batting great Sunil Gavaskar was installed as interim head of the Indian Premier League (IPL) today after India's top court temporarily relieved N. Srinivasan of his duties as the country's cricket board president.
Srinivasan's position was deemed untenable in the wake of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan being indicted for illegal betting on last year's lucrative Twenty20 tournament with the court calling on the powerful cricket administrator to step aside to ensure a fair investigation into the scandal.
Former Indian cricketer and board vice president Shivlal Yadav would oversee all other non-IPL affairs at the BCCI until any further order, the Supreme Court added. The court also decided to allow the seventh edition of the IPL to continue with all eight teams, including the two sides linked to the corruption scandal. The United Arab Emirates will host the first leg of the Twenty20 league from April 16-30 as this year's tournament clashes with parliamentary elections in the world's biggest democracy.
Voting in India will be held in nine stages to May 12 and results are due to be announced on May 16. With poll security being the Indian government's priority, UAE would host at least 16 IPL matches, the BCCI said earlier this month.
The board has approached the interior ministry for permission to host the May 1-12 matches in states where polling would be over, but has kept Bangladesh as a standby venue in case the government cannot provide security. Local media claimed Meiyappan was chief executive of the Chennai Super Kings but the company that owns the IPL franchise, India Cements, said he was merely a member of team management.
Srinivasan, set to take over as chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) board in July, is the head of India Cements. The scandal surfaced when former test bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and two other local cricketers, all playing for the Rajasthan Royals franchise, were arrested on suspicion of taking money to concede a fixed number of runs.
Sreesanth, who had denied any wrongdoing, was subsequently banned for life by the BCCI. The Supreme Court has set April 16 as the next date for hearing in the case. Legal sports betting in India is confined to horse racing.