IPL controversies: Fake IPL Player (Anupam Mukherji)

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Fri, 22/04/2022
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IANS

The second edition of the IPL, in 2009, had to be moved to South Africa because it coincided that year with the Indian General Elections. To coincide with the new season, an anonymous blog started to appear under the pseudonym Fake IPL Player. It appeared to lift the lid on behind-the-scenes events in the Kolkata Knight Riders dressing room.

The blog caused controversy from the outset. Not only did it assign unflattering nicknames to players, coaches and the owners of KKR and other franchises, but it told a number of sordid stories and painted much of the IPL in a bad light.

It soon became popular. Much speculation focused on who was behind the anonymous blog, with many assuming it to be a fringe Kolkata cricketer who was unhappy that he was not being given more opportunities.

For Kolkata, it made a bad season worse. Coach John Buchanan was at the centre of a number of controversies, and fell out with captain Sourav Ganguly (now president of the BCCI), arguing that he was not up the demands of the IPL or T20 cricket in general. Ganguly, for his part, accused Buchanan of racism.

When two players Aakash Chopra and Sanjay Bangar were sent home midway through the tournament, the rumour mill went into overdrive that one, or both of them, was the Fake IPL Player.

Meanwhile it was rumoured that the use of laptops by players had been banned by the team. 

Despite the blogger posting a disclaimer saying that all characters appearing in it were fictitious, the public lapped up stories about fights inside the Kolkata dressing room, and Kings XI Punjab owner Pretty Zinta’s break-up with co-owner Ness Wadia.

At the height of its popularity, the blog had some 170,000 readers a day, not just from India, but also Sri Lanka and other cricket-playing nations.

It was not until August 2010 that the man behind the blog revealed himself as Anupam Mukherji, a freelance advertiser based in Bangalore. He said that he had never met a cricketer in his life, but had kept his ear to the ground and played with believable stereotypes while creating his blog. He had finally decided to came clean was because he was fed up with living a double life.

He did very well out of it, though. His book, The Gamechangers, published under pseudonym Fake IPL Player, was a top-ten bestseller in India. He also later launched his own radio station and live cricket app.