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IPL doubts linger after final razzmatazz

CHENNAI: After a gruelling seven weeks and 74 matches, the Indian Premier League finally came to an end amid the usual glitter and glamour but left unanswered questions in its wake.

The sight of N Srinivasan, owner of the Chennai Super Kings franchise, handing out the winners’ medals to his own players again raised issues of transparency in a tournament dogged with allegations of financial malpractice.

Srinivasan is a powerful figure in Indian cricket as secretary and president-elect of the BCCI and president of the Tamil Nadu state cricket association.

His own side were crowned as IPL champions for the second time in a row late on Saturday, a result which was widely predicted given their dominance of home conditions and favourability of the wicket.

There have been grumblings for months over Srinivasan’s multiple roles and a possible conflict of interest after he was spotted sitting at the BCCI table during the IPL player auction earlier this year.

The BCCI has been keen to promote a better image of the money-spinning IPL after throwing out Lalit Modi, the league’s founder, last September over graft accusations.

Modi, whose brash style personified the IPL, left India last year — and has consistently denied all the charges against him.

In a further attempt to tackle transparency issues, the BCCI also tried to expel two sides — Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals — from the 2011 IPL over allegations of breaking shareholding and ownership rules. But the sides remained in the league after challenging the move in the courts.

The IPL revolutionised cricket when it burst onto the scene in 2008 with international stars, rapid-fire Twenty20 action and Bollywood glamour tapping into India’s immense appetite for the sport. But some observers say interest may already have peaked with reports of falling television ratings as well as some empty stands.