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Modi's downfall will not be mourned: British media

April 27, 2010 19:49 IST

The British media on Tuesday acknowledged that suspended IPL chairman Lalit Modi realised Twenty20's potential in a huge and growing Indian market but said his downfall will not be mourned.

"There is no doubt Mr Modi's vision and drive have changed the game profoundly. Australia are committed to a 20-over event featuring eight city franchises in 2011-12. The ECB tried and failed to establish an English Premier League for 2010," The Times newspaper said in a commentary.

"Mr Modi did not invent Twenty20, but he realised its potential in a huge and growing Indian market," it said.

The commentary written by Richard Hobson, however, said little tears will be shed by England and Wales Cricket Board for Modi who has been suspended by the BCCI for alleged financial irregularities in running the IPL.

"Certainly no tears will have been shed inside ECB offices at Lord's. Modi never forgave ECB chairman Giles Clarke for what he saw as attempts to belittle IPL and stymie development of Twenty20 in the vast Indian market," said the commentary.

"For his own part, Clarke believed that was undermining the English game calculatedly ... they could barely tolerate being in the same room," it said.

According to the commentary, it was because of IPL that ECB made its ill-fated decision to shake hands with Allen Stanford in an attempt to offer a lucrative alternative to England players.

"Stanford's business collapsed and IPL offered guaranteed wages -- good ones -- rather than prize money. The game's star attractions, such as Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen, wanted to play IPL with the rest of the best in the world.

"Although IPL made many of their members rich, player associations became disillusioned at Modi's refusal to discuss serious security concerns. And they disliked the way that he took centre-stage at events, surrounded by bodyguards, as though he were a cricket superstar and not a facilitator," the commentary said.

The commentary also touched upon ICC chief-in-waiting Sharad Pawar's reported support for Modi, saying, "Within ICC, Modi's demise presents a potential headache. Sharad Pawar, who is due to take over from David Morgan as its president in June, is an ally of Modi. The worldwide governing body will not want Pawar tarnished by association."

"Future editions of IPL may be run more democratically and be less commercially brazen. The show seems likely to go on, funded at levels that were unimaginable three years ago. This feels more like a reality check than a death," the commentary said.

The Guardian in a report claimed that world cricket faced a crisis following suspension of Modi as investigation begins into allegations of sleaze and corruption in IPL that has taken the game into a land of high finance. 

"The ECB, among others, nervously awaits proof that the Indian board can prevent a deepening crisis," the report said. 

"The most pressing question for Modi is the whereabouts of documentation over the USD 80 million 'facilitation fee' said to have been paid to settle a complex legal wrangle over IPL TV rights. He must also answer charges of manipulating bidding for the IPL's two newest franchises, in Pune and Kochi," the report said. 

Quoting an ECB official, the report said, "This has been coming for a long time. We will now see what Indian cricket is made of."

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