Once Upon A Time Cricket was a Gentlemen’s Game…Now tainted forever with Match and Spot Fixing and Illegal Betting
Cricket,at one time was my passion and focus…I’ve played and captained at school,college ,club and City league levels in India and Overseas too…won several cups and prizes…was called for Mumbai Trials in the late 1970s but Board Exams came in the way….have lived the patriotism highs when Wadekar led India to overseas series wins in the 1971 in West Indies and England when I was just nine…glued to the radio commentaries through nights…created albums of my fav cricketers….I was that crazy….There was No sense of Big Monies…Only Great Pride to wear that India Cap… you had to earn it !…not Buy it !
Things Changed and Cricket Morphed into a Huge Money Spinner as the TV Age dawned….and with it came the powerful and dangerous age of Politicians Powering State Cricket Bodies and even the Apex BCCI…it has always been about the ‘moolah’ !
Now,where such Monies are Involved,it was not long before Mafia smelled a huge winner in Cricket….Illegal Betting became the Norm and Bookies flourished under the patronage of Politicians and Dons…especially in India and Pakistan…believe me it’s War out there when these two countries meet on the Cricket Field…Passions and Patriotism spills into Violence at times…I’ve personally faced such situations when playing in top leagues overseas…I simply was shell shocked in one high profile Final where our top Indian Club had beaten the best Pakistan Club Team in the semifinals and were facing a top Junior side that comprised both Country players in the Finals….I was half way through my over and we were winning when the Final was disrupted by the beaten Pakistanis who ran on to the field weilding stumps and bats !…it was Murtaza Ali Baig,brother of Indian Player Abbas Ali Baig,who pulled me aside from getting involved and to just be an observer !
Cut back to India and the current scene……
When the Stakes are this High,it was natural instinct for those involved and with criminal mindsets to lean towards ‘arranging’ or ‘fixing’ cricket so that they were always on the winning side in bets….How do they do this !?….the same old ploy of seducing accomodating players with huge incentives…cash and call girls….simply too tempting…results in blackmail sometimes
The Sun never really shone strong again in our Cricketing Environment…the Stakes got even higher with the IPL Concept….this brought in a new set of Players…Team Owners & Franchisees and many accused of their Treasure Chests of Black Monies…either their own or fronting others
Now The latest Sting Operation by India TV has thrown up this ugly side of match and spot fixing and five small fry who figure in the videos have been suspended by BCCI this evening
My Point is that once again the small fry,who’ll probably would never have played for India,and who were making the most of their time in State and IPL teams ,will be targeted as the bad eggs or apples !….the big fry will continue to play the Administrator,Owner,Franchisee,Judge and Executor !
I refuse to believe that Match and Spot Fixing,Illegal Betting and Corruption that is involved is confined to the small fry
I personally am not turned on by the IPL at all….something died in me a long time ago….I became cynical about the game…My Mindset being that all matches are fixed…its for the Players and the Game to prove otherwise !….how can I enjoy Cricket any longer !…it’s no longer a Gentlemen’s game
Like Aamir Khan’s commendable Initiative ‘Satyamev Jayate’ to make a difference to reduce and eradicate social evils,can we expect now even Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar to take the Bull by its Horns and take on the Might of these Fixers at the Highest Level !….it can’t be confined to just Bookies and Players…for a beginning,ban Politicians from being part of and heading Cricket Boards and State Associations….Something tells me that Tendulkar , like me,will just remain on the sides as an observer
I Hope Cricket gets Credible again in my Lifetime !…in a few months I’ll be scoring a 50 ! …come on Tendulkar !…Give back to the game more than what it has given you !…Clean it up for us !
Fingers Remain Crossed !