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With the IPL facings its toughest credibility test, the Indian Express' editor-in-chief, Shekhar Gupta, highlights the flaws in the governance of the tournament, including the conflicts of interest that border on corporate fraud and "cricketing permissiveness". The controversy, he says, has presented the BCCI with a critical choice where they can either make the IPL a serious cricket league or reduce it to a mere spectacle.
Some controversy hits the IPL every year. But this controversy is by far the most crippling. Because this has put the credibility of the very league in doubt. It has brought criticism and apprehension to the minds of all kinds of stakeholders, from politicians, who want to nationalise the BCCI or ban the IPL, to Pepsi, which may want out as its lead sponsor. This time, the BCCI cannot blame a mere individual and hang him. Nor can it rely on the old cynical and lazy notion that cash will solve all problems. It has to clean up not just the IPL, but itself, make a promise of transparency and offer itself voluntarily to some kind of an impartial, outside oversight, if not RTI
Brad Haddin takes on England in The Ashes with a fresh perspective on cricket after his two-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer last year. Chris Barrett of The Age reveals how Haddin's attitude has changed towards the game, and how this experience has put him in good stead when it comes to understanding his priorities between cricket and his life.
'I'd be lying if I said it didn't,'' he says. ''I think I'm a lot more comfortable now with where cricket is at. Sometimes you can get caught in the bubble and think international cricket is the be-all and end-all. But with what happened at home, it put things in perspective. And I'm very comfortable now with where my game is at and where my cricket is at.
In the editorial column for Indian Express, with developments from the IPL spot-fixing crisis reaching new vistas, specifically the Chennai Super Kings link, it becomes vitally imperative that measures are taken to remove those people who have the ability to influence or impede the clean-up that is needed for the game to be riddled of corruption and insouciance. Two individuals in particular, both N Srinivasan and Rajiv Shulka, can no longer afford to both answer the tough questions, and sit on the jury thereafter.
As a franchise owner, and as someone closely related to an individual now under the scanner for deals and dalliances with dubious bookmakers, Srinivasan needs to step down from the helm of the BCCI. Shukla, under whose watch the league faces its biggest crisis of credibility, has also lost the moral right to stride to the podium to hand out the silverware to winners on match days. By all accounts, the parliamentarian and minister has squarely put himself in the way of charges of taking his eyes off the ball and conflict of interest allegations.
Spot-fixing is simply an extension of gambling, and according to Dilip D'Souza in Live Mint, gambling is something which appeals to human nature as it manifests from our greed. When bookies offer you fanciful odds that seem too good to be true, then they usually are. By having a player who is willing to dance to your tune for a kickback, you control the odds and ultimately, the outcome. Spot fixing will always have a market as people who are otherwise informed, will always hedge bets when they see the potential for a great payoff.
The reason bookies might offer such odds--1:1 for the coin, 5:1 for the dice--is that they know their probabilities as well as you do, and naturally they don't want to lose money. In fact, they will likely tweak the odds they offer just enough so they actually make money. That is, after all, why they do what they do. So if you find a bookie offering quite different odds than you expect, it's likely he knows something you don't.
Sreesanth is currently in the headlines for all the wrong reasons - his shopping list, romantic gestures and dance moves - but People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have zeroed in on an idea they think could bring him some goodwill.
"Star in a PETA ad promoting a different kind of 'fixing' - sterilising dogs and cats. No one would call you 'out' about that," said a statement from the organisation, who want Sreesanth - who was PETA's Sexiest Vegetarian Alive in 2009 - and the other cricketers, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, to participate in a campaign against "unchecked breeding".
All three players are currently back in police custody, until May 26, after a Delhi court remanded them without bail on Tuesday. So they might just be a while answering.
Mukul Kesavan in The Telegraph India (warning: a satirical piece) believes that the media should not necessarily connect the actions of Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan, with being an unfortunate product of an otherwise corrupt tournament, riddled with contemptuous activities and allegations of vast amounts of money changed between parties. The piping from the media should not distract from the bad decisions made by individuals who knew what the consequences were.
As Sunil Gavaskar sagely said on television after the Sreesanth story broke, there should be no rush to judgment. These are wise words: if the past and precedent (and the ability of the Indian police to secure a conviction) are a guide, it isn't just possible, it is likely that Sunnybhai might find himself some years from now sharing a commentary box with a shiny, new, exonerated Sreesanth. The IPL is a golden Ganga in spate; it gilds everything that it touches.
David Warner's twitter row with Australian cricket journalist Malcolm Conn gained headlines last week as it provided a view into how prodding from the media, especially from certain sections, coupled with a less-than-stellar four months away from home, could push the left-handed batsman to openly lambast Conn through such boorish means. The spew, antagonised by Twitter's accessibility, caused Warner to transgress from what should have been a private matter, into one escalated on a global platform. Greg Baum reflects in his column for The Age.
In that moment, either he would have forgotten, or cavalierly ignored, the fact that he was in effect on broadcast. Marvelling once at an especially profane radio commentator who somehow never slipped up on air, he explained that the microphone acted on him as the presence of his mother would. Social media, unfortunately, seems to be the province of orphans.
The recent spot-fixing controversy has put many issues within the Indian Premier League into sharp relief, the most important one being how the BCCI and world cricket perceives the tournament and the format. As Mini Kapoor writes in the Indian Express, the fixing scandal can have implications beyond just the Indian league and administrators across the world must own the format if it is to be taken seriously.
As the allegations against Sreesanth have shown, a taint on one format will not necessarily leave the rest of cricket unaffected. A beginning needs to be made of finding ways to collectively own the T20 format, and to do so in a manner that recognises that the IPL is not any old domestic league. In its composition and in the priority that the best cricketers anywhere in the world give it (even if it is for purely monetary reasons), it is not.
Those of us given to holding our noses and dismissing it as a seasonal affliction need to reconsider our disdain. T20 is as much cricket today as Test matches are, and the IPL is its primary competition.
In his column for Asian Age, Ashok Malik argues that the onus of keeping spot-fixing at bay lies with the players, even as the BCCI must deal with the lack of corporate governance in the IPL. He also states that the format of the game makes T20 cricket most vulnerable to such forms of fixing.
"Cricket journalists still remain remarkably innocent of the details of spot-fixing, spread betting and how online betting sites -- perfectly legitimate ones -- allow for very dynamic odds, entry and exit of the punter in real time and at strategic moments, and the analogue of what the stock market would call futures trading.
All of these parameters become that much more pertinent in a Twenty20 game rather than a Test match. If a team is chasing 270 in four sessions to win a Test match, two successive maiden overs or two successive expensive overs will make little difference. If a team is chasing 170 in a T20 game, two successive maiden overs or two successive expensive overs can mean a dramatic difference to the odds on offer before and after those two overs. This may happen without necessarily affecting the final result. It could make some people very rich in two overs."