Posts Tagged ‘ICC’

So the worst kept secret is finally out.
You wonder why a guy who gets a few crores a year playing for just two months – and that too pretty badly – needs to muck around with bookies. Ok, allegedly.
In these days of state-of-the-art technology when people can tap into conversations in your loo, for the three idiots to have phone conversations with bookies and then fix matches, is the dumbest thing to do. 
What I am amused about, however, is the news channels’ hysterical coverage like they didn’t know anything about it till the shit hit the fan. Betting and fixing on cricket matches worldwide is a well oiled and very professional industry. So what was so surprising about the IPL being made a target of fixers?
And for once BCCI is right. You can’t stop a player with a crooked bent of mind. Having said that it says a lot for the Indian sportsperson who puts money before team and pride. That an India player can so easily be lured by filthy lucre really makes one wonder why they don’t take to pimping instead of destroying the game loved by billions worldwide.
One always thought playing cricket at the highest level – if one can call IPL that – must be the motivation for so many youngsters. I guess the priorities have changed for some.
Thank God there still are players like Tendulkar, Dravid, Gilchrist and some others around, who still believe in the age old values and respect the game. In direct contrast are these upstarts, most of who are below-average club level cricketers. They have discovered the road to easy money with no checks or balances. Good luck to them.
You can’t blame them too much when you hear that even owners and their relatives indulge in some skullduggery. It’s not just a case of a few rotten apples anymore. It seems more like the cream atop the bowl of milk has gone rancid.
Frankly, I am hoping so much crap is raked up and so many big guns nailed that they are forced to disband the whole circus. I’ll throw a party, where all those who swear by the IPL won’t be invited! I might have to host it on my landing as there are two people in our home who swear by the damn circus.
I have no problem with the circus if it remains just that. But when Indian teams are selected on the basis of form in the IPL, that’s where I draw the line. How do selectors choose such players when the ICC does not recognise the IPL as an official tournament and performances here are not added to a player’s record?
Then there is the question of people wearing too many hats which leads to a conflict of interest. The days ahead will decide whether this whole sordid story is going to help clean up the Augean stables that Indian cricket has begun to resemble, or the people at the helm of affairs will continue to live in denial.
As for the Pune Warriors, I don’t know who considers themselves luckier to get out of the mess – the team or the sponsors!


The problem with Pakistan is that it is so deep in the hole it has dug itself into that it has neither the will nor the inclination to pull itself out. You would expect any country to at least, make the right noises about acting against the players who have been named by The News of the World in the spot fixing scandal. But Pakistan has instead closed ranks and started to blame India and the rest of the world for it – and in the process, has slid deeper into the muck.

Right from the match at Sharjah in the 1991, it was evident that match-fixing wasn’t something that was going to go away in a hurry. Pakistan played India in that match and won in near darkness. The Indian team management asked Manoj Prabhakar and Sanjay Manjrekar to continue playing after the umpires offered light. Pakistan won the match in the last over and qualified for the finals of the trophy. Rumours were rife that large amounts of money had exchanged hands and Pakistan was allowed to win. Ever since that day, the spectre of match-fixing has haunted the cricket world. After the BCCI got into the act and decided to ban some of the players who were allegedly involved in the fixing, Indian cricketers (not necessarily Indian cricket) have been relatively ‘clean’. The spotlight has now moved completely to Pakistan.

But after all that has happened in the past week, one would expect the Pakistan Government and the Pakistan Cricket Board to do a clean-up act. But what they do from the first day is to say it’s an international conspiracy mounted by India! So the alleged photographer-cum-bookie is Indian, but the other bookies are Pakistanis aren’t they? Look at the ‘bright’ side, at least, there’s at least one thing we can work on together!

The Pakistanis should stop blaming the world for their problems and look within. The thing is that right from the top to the bottom the entire edifice is decayed and crumbling. When there is a President who is a certified crook and is derisively still known as ‘Mr Ten Per Cent’, where the entire democratic set-up is destroyed by greedy politicians with active connivance of the Army, one can hardly expect a concerted campaign against corruption.

The funny thing is when the story broke the officials looked to be doing something, even if they blamed India! A few days later, the government stepped in and everything changed. When ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat says it is the biggest scandal cricket has faced in recent times and Pakistan just clams up, it does make one wonder, whether the Pakistanis are really interested in getting to the bottom of things. It gives the impression that the entire Pakistani cricket establishment is in it neck deep and is hell-bent on engaging in a massive cover-up to save its butt. It does not bode well for the game in general.

I find it hard to believe that cricket boards everywhere, with the benefit of technology and their personal contacts in the media, do not know what their players are up to. And if the Pakistanis won’t do anything about it, it’s time the ICC cleaned up the augean stables. I guess it’s all a question of the will and the way. Right now the Pakistani establishment shows very little interest in either.

I’ll bet my last buck that everything about the disgraceful pitch and the fiasco we witnessed on Sunday, December 27, will be buried very quietly, in the concrete at the Feroz Shah Kotla.

There will be a ban on the DDCA for a period that will extend up to the next season. It will make everyone happy – the BCCI, ICC, DDCA and everyone else associated with the game – and when the next big game comes along the DDCA and the BCCI will be patting each other on the back for a job well done and be ready to con some more people. Oh, and some poor gardener and his aides will lose their jobs.

DDCA vice president Chetan Chauhan, who is also DDCA ground and pitches committee chairman, has already said they didn’t have much role to play in preparing the track, which was relaid at the start of the season. He says he only supervised and did everything on the advice of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) pitch committee. They just used his people. That’s like the security chief of a bank saying that the Bank’s directors were to blame for a robbery, because they had asked him to outsource the work to a private security agency!

Please note that as per the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, a first time breach could invite “a suspension of the venue’s international status for a period of between 12 and 24 months together with a directive for appropriate remedial action and the need for prior ICC re-accreditation as an international venue.”

While you can be sure that the first part of the rule will be implemented, because there may be no international matches at the Kotla till the next year anyway, the second half of the ruling will be handled the way only politicians know. The BCCI and DDCA will roll out the red carpet for the ICC committee, wine & dine (and anything else) them. And then the ICC panel will be shown a brand new pitch.

The curator, who is a basically a gardener, will be sacked. This poor chap who looks after his family with the pittance the DDCA pays him will be found begging for a job. At Kanpur, for example, when a match ends in a result, the winning captain gives the groundsman ‘baksheesh’. So no tips this time around buddy, just a job loss! However, the real culprits – the officials, among who are powerful politicians – will go scot free.

What can you expect in a country where a law minister was himself involved in a corruption scandal’; where two former prime ministers and a chief minister did nothing to stop the killing of thousands for a ‘cause’; where the 84-year-old governor of a state, who’s love of the ‘good life’ is well known, is accused of a sex-romp; where assets of chief ministers rise from a few lakhs to a few thousand crore in a few years; where a state’s home minister returns to his post despite the biggest screw-up over security since 9/11; I could go on and on…

It’s easy to call a crowd unruly, but what do you expect when they shell out a few thousand rupees of their hard earned money for those few hours of excitement? As it is, only a few thousand people can get into the stadium because more than 90 per cent of the tickets are given to the cricket associations, ministers and bureaucrats, who would hate to go anywhere if they had to pay for it!

Look at what happened at the Eden Gardens a few days ago. There was not one paying spectator on the ground to watch the one-day international between Indian and Sri Lanka. All the tickets were given to the clubs for its members. I wonder what would have happened if instead of the Kotla it had been the Eden on Sunday. We might have been looking for a new cricket stadium – to replace the old one that had just been burned down by an irate crowd! And I’m not making fun of the sport-crazy Kolkatan. It’s just that when it comes to a good game they want one.

I was watching a one-day international in Delhi once and they frisked everyone at the gate. Cigarettes, lighters, matches and water bottles, were all dumped on the side. After the first half of the match when things began to get exciting and India was looking at a run chase, the spectators were chewing their finger nails, while the security personnel were smoking Dunhills and Benson & Hedges! The buggers were smoking our cigarettes!