Playing on a rotten wicket

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:18 pm IST

Published - May 26, 2013 12:35 am IST

The Indian Premier League is rotten to the core. But let’s be clear that the rot did not set in yesterday. It has been this way since its inception. The first, almost self-anointed, chairman of the governing council of the IPL, Lalit Modi, has been on the run for reasons best known to the present BCCI president. And the less said about his successor, the better.

Whoever thought these two gentlemen were fit to head IPL ought to be hauled up for all its ills. Equally, anybody associated with IPL, in whatever capacity, is party to the malaise that wraps itself around it.

My life’s experience also tells me that all undeserving holders of high profile offices often meet the end they deserve. But who has been the biggest loser all along? Cricket, of course. And is anybody bothered really? I could have died a million deaths the other day when my wife asked me: “Aren't you ashamed of yourself as a cricketer?” Mind you she’s not a cricket buff at all, but her observation was piercing enough. My misfortune is that I am still alive to face the barrage of questions from others, but there is little I can do to prevent them.

I’m not ashamed to have been a cricketer; but I am ashamed to have my background linked to the present in which cricket has been turned into a religion without any spiritual ethics.

“No punishment would be big enough for ‘dirty/greedy’ cricketers,” the BCCI boss thundered from Kodaikanal. My humble query is this: who created the ‘dirt’ and ‘greed’ in the first place? Surely, the cricketers could not have discovered the ‘dirt’ and the ‘greed’ on their own. So if the cricketers fell prey to an organised brand of avarice, do we really blame them or the IPL and its widespread net of sleaze money?

Not for a moment do I wish to condone the action of the cricketers who have been nabbed. But is this the first instance of crime in cricket IPL-style, and will it be the last?

IPL bares the soullessness of some of the giants of Indian cricket who cannot stop raving about it. It is nauseating to observe, day in day out, India’s former greats competing with each other to outsmart the cricketing dictionary.

“Do you watch IPL?” I've been asked this question often enough. Yes, I do, on TV. Not because I want to, but mustn’t I know what the hell is going on around me in the name of cricket? Sadly, what I see makes for a revolting spectacle that begs a question: why do we not say “this is not cricket?” We never use any other sport to describe the ‘dignity, honesty, uprightness and integrity’ of a human activity better than cricket. But what is provided by the IPL, and highlighted brazenly by the Indian giants, is nothing but a crass cacophony of sycophancy — each trying to outdo the other to impress the bosses who obviously seem to enjoy it no end.

Yes, we see huge crowds in stadia, but I am convinced only a few come to see the cricket. For the rest, it’s just a chance to be part of the din and, and perhaps be caught by television cameras, even if only for a split second.

Am I surprised that the most influential, arrogant and haughty sports official in the history of Indian sport — its present President — has been reduced to an object of mockery? Here is a man blinded by his own monumental craving for insatiable authority. He is not prone to tolerating any opposition and the entire BCCI is shamelessly familiar with his clout. And now, all these cronies are dumbfounded. They are buying time so that the sixth edition of the IPL can be confined to the corrupted cupboards.

Finally, BCCI is not IPL, but IPL is BCC. Youngsters jumping on the IPL bandwagon may do so, at their own peril. I am up to my neck listening to ‘experts’ about how IPL has helped youngsters gain cricket knowledge by sharing dressing rooms with the crème de la crème of the cricketing world.

I am also constrained to remark that the Indian media is sadly running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. It doesn’t quite add up, if you ask me.

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