Fixated on cricket

R. Sundaram | Updated on March 12, 2018

A screaming distraction

Sport and sleaze hog the media limelight to the exclusion of everything else.

For the last three days television channels are bombarding us with the sleaziest of details of cricket’s spot fixing scandal to the exclusion of almost everything else that is happening in India and abroad. Spot fixing seems to be a sliced and diced version of match fixing. (It is another matter that if matches are not fixed, why should they be called fixtures? )

This turning of the spotlight from UPA-II or the Congress to cricket must have come as a relief to the battery of Congress spokespersons led by the unflappable Renuka Choudhary, and one wonders if it is the result of a well-thought-out strategy.

Seize the day

The Delhi Police chief is having his moment now. Used to being blamed for every rape reported, the detection of "spot fixing" is an opportunity the DCP should not let slip since it hits directly or indirectly the political bosses of all hues who have their hands in the cash registers of the BCCI.

But what is all this hullaballoo about millions of Indians feeling anguished? Just as we look forward to Chris Gayle hitting a six every time or Suresh Raina sweeping the ball for a boundary, I also look forward to a scandal or two, some tidbits of gossip and rumour during the IPL season. Is it any surprise? Not for me. However, au contraire,the cacophonous evening news anchors, who I believe, drink cricket, eat cricket and breathe cricket, think otherwise. They bay for the blood of delinquent players like a vigilante mob. Hang them, imprison them, exile them, they holler in chorus. How close these anchors themselves are to cricketers, they do not reveal.

Like politics

Deplorable though it may be, it is possible some cricketers succumb to rapacity. What about their superiors? The captain, the manager and all the way up to the BCCI? Here is the parallel with politics. A former telecom minister allegedly commits a huge scam. His boss, the Prime Minister, does not know, nor does he take steps to prevent it. The PM’s boss, the party president also does not know. Periodically, both of them chirp in unison, apropos of nothing, that corruption is a growing thing, like turnips underground, and should be rooted out.

The captain and the team manager, I presume, travel with the team by air and by road, and dine, wine and party (at least one of them). The captain, in addition, I presume discusses with his players before and after every match, strategies and lessons learnt. Every night, he sees players with escorts and dancing till the morning, talking to suspicious-looking guys. Yet, he does not know that players are being hooked by bookies. He is deeply hurt by the corruption of his team-mates, deeply hurt like our Prime Minister.

Nothing else matters

The IPL or BCCI bigwigs parrot the words of politicians: “We have zero tolerance for corruption”. They also do not know anything. Their ethics committees have not finished studying the reports on corruption during IPL 5. They are like political party bosses.

The English news channels think cricket is the only thing that matters. Surely in the course of these three days or so, many atrocities against women, misdemeanours by power drunk MLAs in faraway towns, truck mishaps, sudden deaths of infants and so on must have taken place. However, what is important now is to fix cricket.

The GDP is falling, power cuts increasing, current account and fiscal deficits are alarming. The increasing number of deaths due to dehydration in the cruelly hot weather, hospitals refusing treatment, doctors cheating poor patients can wait. Let us fix cricket first!

(The author is a retired civil servant)

Published on May 20, 2013

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