New Delhi: Organisers of cricket’s Indian Premier League hit back angrily yesterday at former England all-rounder Ian Botham’s call for the tournament to be scrapped, criticising him for having the “temerity” to issue lectures.
England great Ian Botham (left) with Viv Richards, ECB boss Giles Clarke and Allen Stanford (right) in front of a case containing 20 million US dollars which Stanford put up for an England vs WI T20 fixture in June 2008. To Botham’s right is former WI pacer Curtly Ambrose. Pic/Getty Images.
Delivering a keynote speech in London earlier this week, Botham said the IPL was “too powerful” for cricket’s long-term good.
But Sanjay Patel, secretary of the Indian board (BCCI), said that Botham was in no position to take the moral high ground after his involvement in disgraced Texas financier Allen Stanford’s ill-fated T20 competition between the West Indies and England.
“I can still visualise the photo of Botham sitting in the front when Stanford went to England — and he has the temerity to talk about IPL,” Patel told PTI. “We don’t want his advice. We have enough top players like (former Indian players) Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Kapil Dev and Rahul Dravid to advise us.”
Botham was one of several cricketing legends who appeared alongside Stanford at the 2008 launch of his competition which was cancelled after the first edition following allegations of fraud against the Texan. Stanford was later sentenced to 110 years in prison for heading up a $7 billion Ponzi scheme in a verdict which was seen as a huge embarrassment for the England cricket board.
While few England players appear in the IPL, the annual tournament does feature star names from most of the Test-playing nations. Some have shunned the chance of playing for their country, opting instead.
“How on earth did the IPL own the best players in the world for two months a year and not pay a penny to the boards who brought these players into the game?” Botham said on Wednesday as he delivered the annual Cricket Cowdrey lecture.
“I’m worried about the IPL. In fact, I fear it shouldn’t be there at all. It is changing the priorities of world cricket.” But Patel said Botham had failed to “get his facts” right and that India had “distributed over $10 million as compensation to other cricket boards for allowing their players to play in the IPL.”