By Pritha Nag
For the last 12 years, Indians have been given arguably the most corrupt league in the whole world, the Indian Premier League of Cricket (The IPL). The IPL first started out in 2008, and it has amassed global attention, raking in players from all over the world. The IPL is a huge franchise that is worth about $6.7 billion. Playing one season in the IPL can guarantee comfort for the rest of your life. But after watching many IPL matches, I have seen that there are far too many coincidences that occur, that can be considered as match-fixing. But what proof is there?
After watching matches for a couple of years, you can start to realise far too many coincidences. The Mumbai Indians managing to win the IPL every two years– 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 even being known as the “Odd Glitch” to some, as they manage to win every other year. Out of those four matches, two have been such a close call (2017 and 2019), that the Mumbai Indians have won by one run. It could have gone either way. But it conveniently happened to go the way of the Mumbai Indians each time?
On April 22nd, 2018, Sunrisers Hyderabad hosted Chennai Super Kings, and Rajasthan Royals hosted Mumbai Indians. Chennai won the game by a close 4 runs, and Ambati Rayudu was crowned Man of the match. Later that evening, Rajasthan defeated Mumbai by three wickets, and player Rohit Sharma was run out on the first ball. This same formula was repeated in the season, with the exact same teams. On Sunday 13th May, Chennai hosted Hyderabad (previously it was Hyderbad had hosted Chennai) in Pune while Mumbai hosted Rajasthan (previously it was Rajasthan had hosted Mumbai) at the Wankhede stadium. Chennai Super Kicks won the match by eight wickets, and Ambati Rayudu won the Man of the Match award once again. Hours later, Rajasthan defeated Mumbai in the evening and then Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma was out on the first ball of the match, just as the previous match against Rajasthan. Exact same formula– same teams, same man of the match, and same person out on the first ball.
A bookie (a person that accepts and pays off bets on sporting and other events at agreed-upon odds) has also come out and talked about how the IPL games are fixed, and how they have mastered subtle signals that we as viewers never notice. For example, he had said– “In the IPL five t-shirts will be the full size, five will be half sleeves. A player bowls the over in full t-shirt, that is the signal.” This tells us what type of t-shirt a player is wearing, can signal to the rest of the players what to and what not to do. He went on to say that– “A wide a running in and stopping without bowling are all signals.” A single wide ball (a wide ball is a ball that the batsment are unable to reach) can indicate to the players to score a six for the next bowl, or for a wicket to be taken. It’s all so carefully executed that we as the viewers fail to notice these small signs.
On October 11th, 2020, Delhi Capitals and the Mumbai Indians played together in a match. Seeing that there is less fan interaction due to the current pandemic, teams have been trying to interact with fans more via social media. What was so peculiar about this match, is that the official Mumbai Indians Twitter page had tweeted out only a few minutes at the start of the match– “Pattinson is sharing the new ball with Boult!” This sounds perfectly fine until you read a little below. At the bottom of the tweet, the Mumbai Indians had tweeted out “DC – 163/5 (19.5)”. To decipher this tweet, DC stands for the Delhi capitals, so it is saying that the Delhi Capitals were going to have a score of 163/5 in 19.5 overs. This tweet was tweeted only a few minutes into the match, which is what makes it so interesting because the match had barely started. To thicken the plot the Delhi Capitals ended the match with almost exactly that score– 162/4 in 20 overs. Moreover, the official Mumbai Indians page took down the tweet, dut to getting questioned about it by the IPL supper fans. They are yet to address it as of the 15/10/20, but this is more than coincidence. Almost the exact score tweeted, at the beginning of the match! How could anyone ever be able to guess what the score was even before it started.
What makes the IPL so thrilling is how down to the wire it is. It is argued that far too many IPL matches have been won by a narrow margin of one run. In the 2019 season, it was reported one in every ten matches had ended in a win by just one run, including the final!. This occurs very rarely in One Day Cricket, Test Cricket, and International Cricket.
It is also valid to mention that the IPL had no anti-corruption coverage from the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) specialist unit until it’s third edition. The anit corruption coverage works towards making sure that there is no corruption in sports. The tournament’s first commissioner, Lalit Modi, had admitted it was a mistake on his part, but the milk had already been split.
This may pose the question as to why do some of the world’s best cricket players come to the IPL, that is allegedly rigged? No other domestic league has managed to boast players, cheerleaders, or thrills as the IPL has. Some of the world’s biggest players come to earn millions and millions of dollars. Through watching the IPL you will see many familiar ads pop up over the course of the season, in between breaks, wickets, time outs, and so on. For a small ten-second ad to be televised during the IPL it is $17,705. Star sports is said to have amassed $40,858,470 from ad revenues alone. The money earned is the simple answer to the question. The average salary of an IPL player that he earns during one season is $109,929. For some of the most well-known players, they earn higher figures of about $23,189,92. The average salary most people make in a year is about so in comparison to what a single IPL player makes in three months.
All in all, many could argue if or if not they think that the IPL is fixed. Many could say that if you put your mind to think there is an error in the IPL, your mind will be fixed on over-analysing every small thing that happens. Although there is no solid proof of match-fixing in the IPL, it is important to consider all the “coincidences” and corruption behind the scenes. The IPL has managed to give many new cricketers a chance to shine and fulfil their childhood passions and dreams, the way other leagues have not been able to. Many of the teams have also donated millions and millions of dollars to good causes, such as India’s fight towards Covid-19. That being said when the IPL trophy gets lifted on November 10th, a lot of corruption and scheming would have been behind that trophy. So the next time you are watching an IPL match, notice the minor coincidences, the small signs, and hidden signals and ask yourself– is the IPL rigged?