I am one of those millions of Indians who love cricket and who even played some club and office-level tournaments out of sheer love for the game. But the latest scandal proved to be the last nail in the game’s coffin, destroying my passion. IPL, the annual cash-rich mela which is supposed to be a multinational platform for talent, is now more in the news for non-cricketing, ugly activities both on and off the field. One can only recall the famous quotes by George Bernard Shaw and Rudyard Kipling respectively on cricket being a game of eleven fools playing it with 11,000 fools watching, and of flannelled fools at the wicket.
Do the three cricketers in question know that when India won its first-ever World Cup in England in 1983, the prize money awarded to the entire team was just a few lakhs of rupees. And what was more significant was winning the hearts of millions of fans?
IPL is a phenomenon which the world cricketing community looks at in awe. The varieties of locations across this vast land, the sea of humanity both inside and outside stadia to closely follow and cheer their teams and the amount of money generated are irresistible for any worthy cricketer. This is evident from the fact that, despite the hostile weather, many international players prefer to play in IPL, even forcing respective country boards to reschedule their games. It would be a crime to kill this format of entertainment because of the foul acts of a few greedy elements both on and off the field.
One wonders what more there is in the editions to come as the unholy nexus between cricket and the underworld deepens. In the first place, the film fraternity should never have been allowed to become franchisees. IPL is one big mystery which the common man cannot decipher. It is clear that black money is the root cause of all illegalities and the BCCI needs to be reined in by the government. A thorough audit by an independent agency on the lines of the CAG is needed. Till then, let us expect more off-field entertainment.
Glorified gambling, money laundering and abetting, spot-fixing, crores of rupees changing hands with business tycoons, politicians and film stars joining hands to form a coterie. These are the ingredients of a heady cocktail called IPL. How can this form of the game be even considered a gentleman’s game?
Sudheer Sekhar Palakandy,
Cricket players have the greatest responsibility towards their fans in every corner of the world to play a fair game.
Now, each time a game is played, millions will wonder whether every gesture made by a cricketer is a code for malpractice. Spectators wait with bated breath till the finish, as the end is so unpredictable. But little do they know the cruel game being played on them outside the boundaries of a stadium.
On paper, Chennai Super Kings is the strongest team whereas Mumbai Indians is nowhere near them. Yet MI is now in top spot, pushing CSK to second place. An ugly whisper doing the rounds is that MI may emerge the ultimate winner to give a leading player a good farewell.
The credibility of IPL is at an all-time low. Angry fans have every right now to scream conspiracy after every match.
It was a pity to contrast the front page picture, of pacer S. Sreesanth with a black face hood being escorted like a criminal, with the one on the inside pages, of his distressed parents (May 17). Glamorous film stars, media houses and corporate entities are all spoiling the game and the lives of young cricketers.
The punishment to the cricketers must be proportionate to the damage done to the game of cricket. The faces of the accused should be exposed so that fans see their ugly, shameless faces. In future, a dropped catch, a sixer or even a chain dangling from the neck of a player will arouse deep suspicion. Cricket will never be the same.
I recall meeting the late Polly Umrigar at Madukkarai, Coimbatore district, once. He was busy looking for a button to replace the missing one on his white trousers just an hour ahead of his match. That was the condition of some of our leading cricketers.
Why should the nation’s image be sullied by the shenanigans of a private entertainment industry? By associating itself with the filmdom-corporate jamboree which is what the IPL is, the BCCI has created a perverse version of the public-private-partnership model.
Corruption will always exist in India — 2G, Coalgate, Railgate … the list is endless. If an Indian captain who was banned can make a comeback as a parliamentarian, then the pacer from Kerala can be sure to get away with a mild rap on the knuckles. And if he happens to return to the crease, there will be a sell-out crowd. The loyalty of an average fan is not tainted by corruption.
Col. C.V. Venugopalan (retd.),
I find the media, including The Hindu, blaming IPL for all bad things happening to the game of cricket. Spot fixing is an old evil.
There are reports that the “spot-fixing” was detected after large sums of fake currency were suddenly found to be making their way into India from across the border. Why isn’t that the big story? The role of the police has to be probed too. And how about getting at the brain behind the racket, “living abroad”?