Test defeat, media control on IPL coverage bring new controversies

The Indian Premier League has found itself into troubled waters even before the first ball has been bowled. The defeat of the Indians in the second Test against South Africa in Ahmedabad has initiated angry reactions from the media and the enthusiasts of the game. Many feel that India’s worst Test defeat at home can be squarely attributed to the influence of huge money the players have got from IPL.

It is being alleged that the players did not focus on the game at hand because they were preoccupied with the cash-rich IPL tourney. Critics have said that most of the cricketers now do not have the motivation to play because they have no fears about their future. Many former Indian players have already questioned the commitment of players in the Indian team. Angry reactions poured in after Anil Kumble’s men succumbed by an innings and 90 runs to South Africa on April 5, 2008. This is India’s worst defeat at home since losing to Australia by an innings and 127 runs in New Delhi in 1959.

The allegation is that Indian players had missed practice due to shooting commercials and attending IPL functions in between matches. There are reports that many team members had skipped net practice before the Ahmedabad Test and joined the inauguration ceremony of IPL franchisees. IPL teams are about to play a 44-day competition between eight city teams from April 18 this year.

While Indian players were busy participating in commercial shoots for IPL franchises after the Chennai Test, South African players had declined to do the same even though they were part of the IPL teams.

IPL had earlier attracted harsh criticism from many media organizations over the new set of regulations imposed on covering this cricket extravaganza. The restrictions prevent media organizations frm displaying match photographs on news websites. The conditions include IPL’s right to use all pictures taken at its grounds for free and without restrictions; the commitment by news organisations to upload on the IPL site, within 24 hours, all images taken at the ground; and the restriction of web portals’ access to images without prior permission from the IPL.

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