New Delhi: A year and a half back, on August 25, 2010, CNN-IBN broke the story of how IPL bosses conspired to fix the sale of Andrew Flintoff in the second IPL auction. At that point of time both the Chennai Super Kings, which bought former England allrounder Flintoff, and former IPL chairman Lalit Modi had denied the story but in a shocking revelation on Tuesday, Modi finally admitted to CNN-IBN that the rules were tweaked to allow Flintoff to stay with Chennai.
Modi, in an exclusive interview, said, "All players were supposed to go back to the auction after the first three years but that did not happen. I was arm-twisted into allowing Flintoff to stay with the Chennai team. The retention clause was not my idea. I had created a level playing field."
CNN-IBN had accessed an e-mail that suggested BCCI president and owner of the Chennai franchise, N Srinivasan, may have been involved in pre-determining player auctions in 2009. On February 4, 2009, just two days before the auction, Modi wrote to Srinivasan assuring him that he had convinced the Rajasthan Royals and their captain Shane Warne not to bid for Flintoff.
Modi, in an email to the BCCI president, wrote, "What a nightmare to convince them not to terminate [Sohail] Tanvir and also not to take Flintoff. Warne went of the handle. But have managed it by using stick and carrot strategy. Thus they have 1.875 million dollars only. Much love, Lalit."
To which Srinivasan had replied on the same day, "Thanks. You are most sweet. Srini."
Two days later, on February 6, Flintoff was bought by Chennai for a whopping 1.55 million dollars, making him the IPL's most expensive player then, alongside Kevin Pietersen.
This is not the only point which proves that IPL auctions might have been rigged. And it is not the only potential "conflict of interest" involving Srinivasan. At the 2010 auction, Chennai also made bid for West Indies allrounder and Twenty20 specialist Kieron Pollard, but lost him to the Mumbai Indians.
CNN-IBN also showed the documents that suggested that the current BCCI president tried to prevent Pollard from playing for Mumbai. While the West Indies Cricket Board gave a letter of No Objection for Pollard to play in the IPL, Srinivasan raised concerns about his eligibility.