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Traditional match-fixing veterans are deeply anguished at the new slam-bang spot-fixing format that is threatening to strike at the roots of the longer version.
"Spot-fixing is spoiling the technique of youngsters who think that fixing is only about no-balls, wides, ungainly heaves and dropped catches. I am afraid that the true art of match-fixing that required hours of concentration, long sessions of carefully orchestrated slow batting, whole spells of just slightly ineffective bowling and pitch-perfect misfielding to manipulate entire match results will soon become a thing of the past. Youngsters are losing the skills and temperament to deal with the rigours of true long format match-fixing," lamented a veteran bookie and fixer known only as "Bhai".
"Match-fixing used to be about controlling the ebb and flow of the entire game, the nuances, the many little details. Now all the public wants is quick results and instant gratification that spot-fixing gives them. It's a shame," he added.
Another match-fixing veteran, a man known only as "Joseph", bemoaned the fact that fixing was no longer attracting top-quality talent. "In the past, match-fixing would attract the likes of international captains, superstar players and top-notch umpires. Now, with the advent of spot-fixing, we are seeing an influx of mediocre cricketers and boring team officials. The talent base is being eroded. We need to do something at the grassroots level to stem this rot," he said.
"We must do all we can to maintain the sanctity of match-fixing and protect it from the impact of spot-fixing. Spot-fixing is great for entertainment and making quick money, but any true fixer will tell you that his heart lies in the longer format," said a senior journalist known for his traditional views. "We must ensure that the right values are eroded in young cricketers at the school level. Only then can we ensure that match-fixing regains its lost glory."
The Indian government has taken a stern view of the ongoing spot-fixing controversy at the IPL, and has announced that it will be taking over the lucrative tournament from the BCCI.
"Due to the rampant corruption in the IPL, we think the time is right for the government to take over the tournament and run it ourselves from the next year onwards." said a spokesman for the sports ministry. "Because nothing says 'corruption-free' like a cash-rich cricket tournament run mainly by politicians", he winked.
"We will rename the tournament as the All India Nehru-Gandhi-Ambedkar Invitation Gold Cup Cricket Tournament, and we will run it with the same high standards of integrity, transparency and boredom associated with all our events, such as the National Games." he assured those present.
The tournament's new director is a man known only as "Charles", who brings to the table immense past experience in running more than a decade of clean and corruption-free sports day functions for a school in Chennai. "Our first step is to dismantle the corrupt franchise model. It will be replaced by a 'house system' similar to the ones in schools. The competing teams will be named Tagore, Tilak, Abdul Kalam, Bhagat Singh and Rani Laxmibai. Everybody knows that naming stuff after revered historical figures immediately reduces corruption", he said.
He also confirmed that the opening ceremony would feature all the teams in a colourful march-past, followed by an exciting "Bharatiyam mass drill" performed by the defending champions.
In an interesting twist to the complicated Chennai Super Kings ownership issue, a spokesman for India Cements has denied that the CSK team exists at all. "There is no such team as CSK. It is all speculation by the media", he asserted. When someone pointed out that there were plenty of video recordings and eyewitness accounts of CSK playing in the past six seasons of the IPL, he retorted, "So what? The West Indies national team has played lots of cricket, but there is also irrefutable evidence that there is no such country. Just because an entity plays cricket does not mean that it exists."
Anand Ramachandran is a writer, comics creator and videogame designer who works when he isn't playing some game with an "of" in its name. He tweets here.
All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?
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Anand Ramachandran is a game designer and writer based in Bangalore. He specialises in finding creative ways to justify time and money spent on watching sports, playing games and reading comics as "professional investment". He boasts a batting average of 79.66 with 53 first-class hundreds in various cricket videogames, on platforms as diverse as the Sinclair ZX-Spectrum and modern PCs and consoles.