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