Posts Tagged ‘IPL’

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!


So who let the dogs out? Did you notice how the Income tax department jumped to do their master’s bidding the day Tharoor was accused of doing a few underhand things to get his pals the IPl franchise? Will the government call off the I-T guys, now that Tharoor has quit and Modi is also being sidelined? I don’t think so.

Looks like the BCCI and IPL will have to pay a heavy price for unwittingly getting involved in a sordid game of knots and crosses between a few powerful politicians, who have their own agenda. And the media is busy publishing stories planted by ‘interested’ parties, while going around in circles, like a dog chasing its own tail.

Let’s face it, Tharoor presented his head to his critics on a platter. The Congress claims they heard him out and would obviously like us to believe that they didn’t believe him. Is that really the truth? Has the Congress edged him out just to keep some regional politicians quiet, while they plan their next move?

This whole Tharoor issue, seems to me, a case of inflated egos and attempts at one-upmanship between two or three powerful politicians, all hell-bent on hurting each other’s interests, because one decides the other is now expendable. So word gets around that such a plan is being hatched and some politicians decided to scuttle it.

Mark my words, but six months from now, will emerge the news that Tharoor was as a clean as a whistle, because by then the political drama would have reached its logical conclusion. So they’ll say he recommended his girl friend for a place on the Kochi franchise. So big deal? Why did Lalit Modi accept? After all, he struts around with the pompous sounding title of ‘Commissioner.’ Why didn’t he just tell Tharoor to pipe down, or tell his erstwhile boss Sharad Pawar to lean on him?

Doesn’t it seem strange that Sharad Pawar is backing Modi, when in reality he should have been supporting an MP, who is a member of his alliance partner? What’s the guarantee that some smart politician didn’t offer pay the moon to move the IPL out of Kochi to a city of his choice, Ahmedabad, Kanpur… wherever, because of his business interests there.

I think for Modi and the BCCI, their woes are just beginning. Something tell me they will be taught a lesson. They’re going to be brought to their knees, made examples of, because someone in power wants to teach someone else a lesson. Either that or the powers-that-be will call a truce, kiss and make up, and completely ignore the collateral damage, their little ego battle has caused – the reputation of Indian cricket. That’s politics, and you still think it’s cricket?

I wonder, if in a fit of rage, Lalit Modi called Shashi Tharoor “Faale Manhoof!”

The war of the tweeters has entered the political arena. And now that the politicians have stepped in to the IPL circus we can expect some fun and games and the inevitable scapegoat. I am afraid the articulate and genteel Tharoor is being fattened for the sacrifice – if not now then sometime in the future.

Remember the IPL commercial aired before the IPL, with a politician wondering whether he would get a ticket, and his dumb followers swearing revenge if he didn’t? Does it remind you of the BJP’s ‘spin meisters’ and the others in the opposition screaming for Tharoor’s blood? I am pretty sure a majority of them don’t even know what the controversy is about. Just like the time they made a big noise about Jaswant Singh’s book without even having read it.

Going by Tharoor’s ‘clarification’ in the press, what he says seems pretty logical. So what if he tried to use his influence to get Kochi an IPL ticket? Pray tell me what are Krish Srikkanth, N Srinivasan and other well-known faces doing in the IPL franchisees. Look at the manner in which the Indian T 20 team was selected for the World Cup. Didn’t the IPL owners have a say in selections? The selectors can go blue in the face protesting that selections were clean, but some of the choices did raise eyebrows. So, till it is proved in a court of law that Tharoor is a liar and a cheat, I am going to give him the benefit of doubt.

Somehow I’ve liked neither Mr Modi nor his lisping tongue from the time he appeared on the scene from his home state of Rajasthan. He bears a striking resemblance to Jagmohan Dalmiya (erstwhile head honcho of Indian cricket and in his time cricket’s most powerful administrator), if only for the manner in which he has made money for the Indian cricket board. The similarity ends there.

In spite of all of Jaggu’s dada’s sometimes dubious style of functioning, I admired him because he gave the impression that he put Indian cricket and its players above all else, when it came to taking on the establishment (Read ICC and its supporters among the White cricketing nations). No one dared to tangle with Dalmiya and even a person as mild mannered as John Wright said he was relieved that Dalmiya was at the helm when Mike Denness allegedly called Tendulkar a cheat in South Africa. Wright didn’t believe anyone else could have taken on the ICC and shown them their place. It was an incident that virtually threatened to split the cricket world. But Dalmiya refused to back down until Tendulkar was reinstated and cleared off the charges.

But Modi, somehow, looks the type who’ll sell Indian cricket to the highest bidder, which is what he has been doing successfully these past three seasons. He reminds me of Kaa the boa constrictor in Jungle Book. I can visualise him lisping his way through “Trust in me”. Would you trust Mr Modi?

Not a contrived attempt? They acted maturely? Do the IPL bosses actually expect us to believe that? And when we have to listen to a dumb Bollywood starlet, who couldn’t act to save her film career, mouthing such idiocies, it does get galling. And the more she shoots her mouth off, the deeper the hole she and her compatriots dig themselves into. Hopefully, by the time the next edition comes around, they’ll bury themselves completely, and we’ll be rid of this bastardized form of a great game.
But since it’s still on, what’s the real reason for not picking the Pakistanis? Not good enough? Didn’t like their nationalities? Didn’t like their religion? Didn’t like their beards? Didn’t like their names? Or were they planning to attack India with…. cricket bats and balls?
If they didn’t want to select the Pakistanis, the IPL bosses shouldn’t even have picked them in the original list of players up for auction. And even after they did, if one or two had been bought and the rest ignored, it would have looked a natural auctioning process. But ignoring all eleven? I don’t blame the Pakistan press for calling us a bunch of bigots. In the US and Australia you have racism and in India you have bigotry in the worst form – caste, gender religion and colour – which decides where you’ll be studying, staying or working, or who you’ll be marrying. But let’s stick with the IPL for now we’ll leave the rest for another day.
What’s the cricketing logic in keeping Shahid Afridi out? He is one of the best and most exciting one-day players in the world. Strange, that no player from the best T20 team in the world finds a place in the IPL.
Jingoism be damned, but who wants to watch a bunch of retired, semi-retired and some unknown faces huffing and puffing through 20 overs? I would much rather watch the likes of Afridi, Umar Gul, and the Akmal brothers than some Roach, Bond, Ganguly, Kaif, or a club class cricketer like Yousuf Pathan. Didn’t Bond retire from international cricket because of persistent injury problems? How is he fit to play now?
IPL was launched supposedly to bring the best cricketing talent in the world under one umbrella and have them perform together in different teams. The first edition was exciting because one suddenly saw Ponting, Sourav and Shoaib Akhtar playing together and Shane Warne leading an ‘Indian’ team. Secondly, it also gave a lot of cricketers some form of financial security. While some of these reasons still coexist, the excitement has worn off. We all know what happened during the last IPL in South Africa.
The moral of the story is that even money power isn’t enough to go against some of the unwritten diktats made by governments. Either the Government is telling the truth that they have nothing to do with IPL or the IPL bosses have mastered the fine art of bending over. They can go blue in the face denying any ulterior motive for not picking the Pakistanis, but not too many people believe them. I feel sorry for the Pakistani players – caught in the middle of a political war of nerves, not of their doing.
What the IPL bosses had been doing these past few years was bad enough – screwing the great game of cricket by selling it to the highest bidder. Now they are playing politics over it too.