A day after the Indian Premier League (IPL) suffered a critical blow, the fans of the shortest version of cricket, T20, suffered another heartache. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in consensus with Cricket South Africa (CSA) and Cricket Australia (CA) decided to discontinue the Champions League T20 (CLT20) with immediate effect on 15 July.
The Governing Council of the CLT20 which is comprised of representatives from the BCCI, CSA and CA took the decision to scrap the tournament unanimously.
The BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur revealed that the annual T20 tournament, which was scheduled for September and October, was discontinued as it failed to garner interest since its advent in 2009. Due to the lack of viewership, the tournament also witnessed unstable sponsorships alongside the lack of other necessary factors which eventually led to its downfall.
Champions League T20:
The annual international T20 tournament played between the top domestic teams from major cricketing nations was launched in 2008 with its first edition held in October 2009. The tournament was jointly owned by the BCCI, CSA and CA, and was chaired by N Srinivasan, who is the current ICC chairman. The tournament was held between September and October for a period of two to three weeks in India or South Africa. It had a total prize pool of US $6 million with the winning team receiving $2.5 million - the highest for a club cricket tournament in history.
The format involved the best teams from the premier T20 competitions of seven-Test playing nations, favouring the teams from India, Australia and South Africa. Chennai Super Kings, who were the 2010 & 2014 champions, won the event a record two times alongside another Indian club Mumbai Indians (2011 and 2013). Australian clubs New South Wales Blues (2009) and Sydney Sixers (2012) also won the tournament on one occasion.
Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals suspended from IPL:
The 2013 betting and spot-fixing scandal consumed the two IPL giants Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals on 14 July. The Supreme Court-appointed Justice Lodha committee suspended Jaipur IPL Cricket Pvt Ltd (owner of Rajasthan) and India Cements (who own Chennai) for two years, following their officials' involvement in the infamous IPL scandal. The two teams will not be able to participate in the tournament for two years.
While the committee did not comment on what happens if there's a change of ownership, it may be possible for the teams to make a comeback in such a scenario. Rajasthan's co-owner Raj Kundra and Chennai team official Gurunath Meiyappan were suspended for life and banned from cricket-related activities for 5 years, after they were found guilty of betting on the IPL matches in 2013.
The infamous list of tainted cricketers:
Mumbai's Ranji Trophy batsman Hiken Shah became the latest addition to the infamous list of tainted cricketers after he was found guilty of breaching BCCI's corruption code. The Indian cricket board suspended the Mumbai batsman on 13 July and referred the case to its disciplinary committee for further action. Shah, a left-handed batsman and leg-break bowler, approached his Ranji teammate Pravin Tambe with an offer to fix matches in the Indian Premier League ahead of the 2015 season. Tambe has been a key spinner for 2008 IPL champions Rajasthan Royals and it is believed that Shah wanted to take advantage of his position. However, Tambe immediately reported the matter to the BCCI who instructed its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) to conduct an inquiry into the matter. After a detailed probe in the reported incident, the ACU found Shah guilty of breaching BCCI's corruption code.
In 2013, three players of Rajasthan Royals were arrested by the Delhi Police on charges of spot-fixing. Rajasthan's seamer S Sreesanth, spinner Ajit Chandila and all-rounder Ankeet Chavan were suspended by the BCCI on suspicion of taking money to concede a fixed number of runs during the IPL games. Sreesanth, who denied any wrongdoings, was subsequently banned for life by the Indian cricket board.