Sourav - Best choice for Mudgal panel
Well it was on the cards for a long time. There was a lot of speculation in the media as well. Will he or will he not? Does he have the time or does he not? Will Justice Mudgal choose him over others or will he not? Finally the speculation has ended. Sourav Ganguly is the player of repute who is going to investigate the IPL fixing scandal as part of the Mudgal panel.
There is little doubt that Sourav is the best choice. First, he has played the IPL till a year earlier and knows the tournament really well. Having been a player, there's no such thing that he will not be aware of. Second, he has administrative ambitions. It is more than likely he will be joining the Cricket Association of Bengal as Secretary come end July 2014. He has the backing of President Jagmohan Dalmiya to do so and has played a very active role in improving Bengal cricket over the last year and more. Someone with administrative ambitions is always a plus in committees like this. Third, and most importantly perhaps, he is not part of any IPL franchise in any shape of form. The other name that was discussed by the panel is that of VVS Laxman. However, Laxman continues to be associated with the Sunrisers Hyderabad and there would have been a case of conflict of interest had he joined the panel. He would either have to rescind his mentoring duties or he would have to recuse himself from certain aspects of the probe because of his active involvement with the IPL. For Sourav that's not the case. He is not part of any franchise and is an objective third party in this case.
Now to his ability. He has always been a straight talker. From the time he became captain of India in 2000-2001, Sourav has never shied away from difficult situations. In fact the two situations have some similarities as well. At the time he took over as captain of India, cricket was going through its worst phase. Match fixing allegations were threatening to corrode the very foundation of the game and fans were fast losing interest. It was upon Sourav and his team to ensure that fans did not move away and that belief was restored. India played an incredible 3 test match series against Australia and the credibility of the game was back. In sum, Sourav had to deal with the curse of match fixing to restore credibility.
The current situation is similar. However much IPL season 7 was a success, the looming threat of fixing does hang over the tournament's head. Season 6 has not been forgotten and the Mudgal investigation has already captured the fans' imagination. Everyone expects a thorough probe and a clean up and Sourav will only add to the fan's belief that nothing will be swept under the carpet.
There's one more very important aspect that works in Sourav's favour. He is not a contracted commentator of the BCCI and hence the issue of conflict of interest doesn't arise. He can approach the probe without any prejudice and without any baggage and isn't expected to hold back on any counts. He was one of the few who has already spoken to the committee in January 2014 and is aware of how the committee works.
Can we expect a clean up then? Is a thorough probe possible especially when the BCCI President in exile is one of the 13 names being investigated?
Make no mistake this is our best opportunity to ensure a clean up. If people aren't guilty of wrongdoing this committee has the credibility to tell us as much. And Sourav's addition to the team has only enhanced its credibility further. On the other hand if people are found guilty, this committee has the integrity to not care for reputations and tell the world the real truth. Yet again Sourav's inclusion has further added to the committee's credentials.
Justice Mudgal and his team deserve credit for picking the best name in the fraternity to assist in the probe. Now it is time for the process to begin in full earnest. And needless to say we will await the report with interest.