There has been a lot of sweat in the third year of the Indian Premier League— on the field as cricketers give their best in a hot summer and off the field in the form of sweat equity for some team owners.
The controversy about the ownership of the new Kochi franchise is entertaining and troubling in equal parts. The T20 league has always had that fizzy combination of oversized egos, political power and big money that marks every big event in India. The Kochi affair takes this to new heights.
Why a consortium that has paid $333 million to own a cricket team should give away a slice of ownership for free is puzzling but really nobody’s business. Nor should the details of Shashi Tharoor’s personal life be anything more than a private affair.
But when the two intersect — a free slice of a lucrative franchise and alleged links to a national minister—then it is fair to ask what’s up.
This lobbying, wheeling and dealing tells us a lot about the nature of Indian capitalism and the political system that it is so comfortably tied to.