May 28, 2013

A league in need of cleansing

If the IPL is to rescue its integrity, the BCCI must first rescue itself
  shares 26

Normally, as players disperse and confetti is swept away, the end of every IPL season is marked by self-congratulatory backslapping among organisers, administrators, broadcasters and media-planners. "Great numbers, guys, such a great vibe, see you next year." Franchises begin internal reviews, sorting out accounts, handing out dues, collecting dosh from sponsors, and generally approach closure.

In 2010, something else happened. Lalit Modi, the godfather of the IPL, was excised from the BCCI and those linked to the IPL's waterfall of moving wealth were raided. Investigators from the departments of Income Tax, Service Tax and Enforcement Directorate began turning up in the offices of franchises, demanding documents, accessing computers, following the money and looking for proof of any and all violations of the law. It left the franchises distinctly rattled.

Three years later, the last ten days of IPL 2013 has raised heat, dust and a right royal stink.

In 2010, it was those with financial fingers in the IPL's ever-enlarging pie that were stirred and shaken. In 2013, it is the league's brassy image that is dented. Outsiders are looking at what was sold to them as 24-karat 'property' and finding the gilt flaking off.

The IPL has always been sold to its audience as a marriage of cricket and entertainment; except in 2013, there came an accidental advisory - that there was a chance that parts of the "cricketainment" could actually be pre-scripted.

The advisory warned us that the authenticity of the IPL's cricket as sport could be called to question. This because there was growing evidence that the boundaries between sport and WWE-style entertainment had, on at least one occasion, been blurred beyond belief.

Three players were arrested and produced before a court like hoodlums, faces covered by black masks. A man who went within days from franchise owner/team principal to 'honorary official' to 'enthusiast', was summoned by police and charged with 12 violations of three separate laws. In all 22 people as of now have been arrested around India in connection with betting, cricket and the IPL.

To its much-celebrated spice rack of cricket, entertainment, business, glamour and profit, IPL2013 has added other darker seasonings - crime, corruption, and wrongdoing.

Ever since its inception, the notion of something lurking around the margins of the IPL has existed not only because it has followed a fast, loose and flexible rulebook. It is not as though the betting mafia was standing still before the IPL. But what the IPL did was let into Indian cricket, along with corporate India and Bollywood stars, a large cast of carpetbaggers in double roles.

Season Six has introduced into our imagination the many species that could evolve and survive largely within the IPL. Like the former cricketer-turned-bookie or the player-for-profit whose career ambitions in the sport are centered around visibility and opportunity around the IPL alone, rather than cracking, at the very least, the first-class game. Then there are sociable middleman between bookies and players, the agent who could bring everyone together, and perhaps the most damning of all, the insider informant.

But the arrest of Gurunath Meiyappan, inextricably linked with Chennai Super Kings, has turned the tale of the "three rotten eggs" - "the dirty cricketers" - into minor pickings. His arrest showed us that there could exist an even more rancid layer, protected it seemed until now by "all access" passes and allowed to at least exist by a negligent Governing Council.

It was not sting operations by TV news channels 'maybe with a view on their ratings' that led the players and enthusiasts into police lock-ups and Tihar Jail. It was the police who pinned them there and continue looking for the carpetbaggers. One franchise official said this week, "Just like there may be more players caught dealing with bookies, more than one franchise official could be betting too."

What should worry Indian cricket is not only that pieces of the IPL's dirty laundry that are being hung out to dry one at a time or the possibly scary size of the eventual load. What should also make Indian cricket fret is the attempt by the BCCI president, the IPL chairman and high-ranking officials to each put an individual spin on the growing pile of dirty linen. It was only, after all, a tiny pair of socks/it's not that unclean/ that's someone else's dirty laundry/nothing a new washing machine can't fix.

The Gurunath Meiyappan case has been treated by the BCCI's highest officials - and not merely Meiyappan's father-in-law - with kid gloves. Lawyers can argue over which among several rules may have been broken. Gurunath has been accused of violating the IPL's code of conduct which, had he been less influential, would have left any other franchise team, if not terminated, at least suspended. There is an ICC code that forbids directors like N Srinivasan from having anyone in his immediate family in the betting business.

For the moment everything is cast aside in a sustained, high-volume bark of, "you are hounding me. I have done nothing wrong." But as much as Srinivasan's clinging to office is loathsome, the turning away by Rajiv Shukla, Arun Jaitley and their political accomplices is a gross dereliction of duty. The BCCI's cross-party political cabal has, in this case, served only itself and its self-interest.

It meant that IPL 2013 was left to play out in a bizarre parallel universe, without recognition or acknowledgement of the credibility-crisis that had broken out within and around it. As the cabal dithered Indian cricket, once again, to resorted to its ugliest type. Regardless of wealth and influence, it was shown up as an international basket case, dominated by willful misgovernance and autocracy. Sreesanth and Ajit Chandila are not responsible for this. Srinivasan, Shukla, Jaitley and their colleagues are.

The franchises' assessments of the situation vary. A few hope that their post-IPL season lives return to back-slapping. One executive from a heavyweight franchise says what the IPL requires more than anything else now is: 'transparency.' In cricket and administration. Or he feared, "the League may collapse, cave in on itself. End."

It is only the numbers men who can indicate how the much-beloved market responds to the IPL 2013's caravan of corruption. In the brand valuations business, in public perception, according to Harish Bijoor, brand strategy consultant, "the IPL is affected."

Brands, he said, depended on "positive value," which led to the "goodwill" that drove consumer passions. The arrests and the cloud around umpire Asad Rauf had diminished the IPL's positive value even as "wholesome family entertainment." Bijoor says, "broadcasters will not tell you about this, franchises will not tell you about this, but advertising is shouting from the rooftops that the IPL's brand valuations are affected."

Words like "brand valuations" and formats like Twenty20 do not impress former BCCI president Shashank Manohar and maybe it was why his solution was the most cogent, amid the loud rancour of the last ten days. To start with, he says, open up IPL 2013 to a proper investigating agency (rather than feeble internal committees) and in the future, work with law enforcement.

No matter what its shiny numbers and crowd figures indicate, the IPL's trustworthiness in the eyes of the public with a brain, is now severely damaged. If the league is to rescue its integrity around the world, the BCCI must first rescue itself. This event it has owned for six years now is not a Residents Welfare Association tea party, with its petty, personal pointscoring. It is a billion dollar industry.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Achettup on May 29, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    The only phrase that comes to mind is "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely"... I fear it is too late... the stench has now pervaded every level... you can see how the smart ones have quickly ended their association with it... Neither Indian nor world cricket can afford an emperor, the blatant disregard and manipulation of laws/rules to accommodate profiteering were there for all to see, but as it was before, you could speak up about it at best but who could hold them accountable and take suitable action? Perhaps the real stakeholders of the game, the fans, will finally act through their lack of participation which would be a fitting legacy for the brickheads running the show...

  • Nampally on May 28, 2013, 21:19 GMT

    "A League in Need of cleaning"- Yes indeed it is very true. But where do you start? When we were kids, Cricket was considered to be a character building Noble sport. We grew up with "Cricket Culture & its etiquette". You could easily make out the difference between a Cricketer & a non Cricketer by their very mannerisms. Cricketer never earned much money brought rich character to the game. Today Cricket is a "Money Mint". There is no special "culture" attached to a Cricketer. You see bad tempered Cricketers in IPL, ODI's & in Tests representing India. First the "Sledging" & advanced to open abuse of crowds & verbal conflict amongst cricketers. The "Spot fixing" dates back to a S.African & migrated to Pakistan & now to India. "Where there is smoke there is Fire" - I like to add "where there is Money there is Greed". Go back in time to 60's & educate the present generation to Cricket culture. India needs both BCCI & IPL headed by such educators- not CEO's or "Money Lords"! That My Plea.

  • jay57870 on May 31, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    Sharda - The cleansing process is well under way: Investigations & actions by a host of concerned parties - law enforcement/police, courts, ministries of law & sports, apart from ACSU & BCCI commission. The Supreme Court has set a 15-day time limit for BCCI (ACSU) to report its findings. Significantly it's the outside agencies that have the long arms of the law & government. They will eventually determine the course of the cleansing process: whole truth about spot-fixing, due punishment for the culprits, corrective actions & stringent administrative reforms (S Manohar is spot on). They might even force action on the hot "conflict of interest" issue and - through due process - the fate of embattled Srinivasan (if he doesn't resign). If the "silence" is deafening, so is the media frenzy! Who wants to listen to politicians? Press conferences are a media circus anyway! Let the agencies do their jobs & justice will be served. Yes, change is inevitable & cricket will be "rescued", Sharda!

  • latecut_04 on May 30, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    I am from Kerala the state represented by the only test cricketer booked for fixing in IPL as of now and yesterday an elder relative of mine was wondering"what happened to this kid,he was everywhere and seemed so happy and energetic,how to stop this menace etc".The answer to this lament was given by a much younger friend of mine--"For this to stop people should stop watching this.As long as there is viewership this will prevail"...NOW we need to define the "THIS" in the preceding sentence.It doesn't mean the game of cricket it means fixing and cheating in the game.All this talk about ex cricketers heading BCCI,running the game etc are wishful thinking(what are a few ex doing as BCCI mouth pieces right now?)the fact is that there was always something fishy about IPL and serious cricket fans took many results with a few pinches of salt.If and ONLY if the ambiguity of the league starting from the real franchise owners is cleared we can even hope to see the end of fixing and murky deals.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on May 30, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    This is a country in need of cleansing. A small league is nothing in comparison. We need to get over this obsession with small time corruption in cricket.

  • UnwedUnfed on May 30, 2013, 1:48 GMT

    This is really much ado about nothing. Most Indian have always known that there has been match and spot fixing in the IPL - and this includes people who bet on the games (interestingly, they effectively bet on the probability that their bookie is the one who has the fix in). Scripted entertainment is still entertainment - and while the competition on TV is saas-bahu serials, I don't think the public is switching away from the IPL. As a somewhat related example, professional wrestling does fairly well on Indian TV. The IPL pretty much falls in that category now.

  • Nampally on May 29, 2013, 18:21 GMT

    "If the League is to rescue its integrity around the World, the BCCI must first rescue itself"- summarises the issue l. The first job is to move forward by putting Former Cricketers in charge of BCCI & rescue it from the money Lords. When Money is the main objective, there is little focus on Cricket as a sport. We have a Company CEO leading BCCI & running it like a money making organisation rather than a sport. Under his leadership, India suffered 2 successive series whitewashes in England & Australia. BCCI took it so lightly that even at home India suffered a severe mauling at the hands of England in the Test series. Thanks to a weak Aussie team that it gave India a measure of relief & respectability. How India fares in England in Champion's League will reflect a lot. Meanwhile IPL 6 has been marred with "corrupt culture" with 3 players + CSK owner caught with their hands in the till. Even the Umpiring is under review.New "Washing Machine" will only work with a totally different BCCI!

  • JerryV on May 29, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    There is an easy way to clean this up.

    Legalize betting in sports. Betting is a natural human tendency. By criminalizing it, all you are managing to do is to drive it underground and acquire some rather nasty undertones.

    I know they sell lottery tickets in India. How is this any different?

  • Chittappi on May 29, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    They have already killed their golden goose. Now they are hell-bent on frying and eating it. RIP IPL.

  • maneh on May 29, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    This is an excellent article. Besides the administrators, the role of the Indian media also needs to be examined. They have acted as hand maidens to the powerful in the BCCI; they have been complicit in this charade; and up till now have been embedded in the BCCI and IPL preventing them from asking the hard questions.

    More power to your pen!

  • Achettup on May 29, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    The only phrase that comes to mind is "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely"... I fear it is too late... the stench has now pervaded every level... you can see how the smart ones have quickly ended their association with it... Neither Indian nor world cricket can afford an emperor, the blatant disregard and manipulation of laws/rules to accommodate profiteering were there for all to see, but as it was before, you could speak up about it at best but who could hold them accountable and take suitable action? Perhaps the real stakeholders of the game, the fans, will finally act through their lack of participation which would be a fitting legacy for the brickheads running the show...

  • Nampally on May 28, 2013, 21:19 GMT

    "A League in Need of cleaning"- Yes indeed it is very true. But where do you start? When we were kids, Cricket was considered to be a character building Noble sport. We grew up with "Cricket Culture & its etiquette". You could easily make out the difference between a Cricketer & a non Cricketer by their very mannerisms. Cricketer never earned much money brought rich character to the game. Today Cricket is a "Money Mint". There is no special "culture" attached to a Cricketer. You see bad tempered Cricketers in IPL, ODI's & in Tests representing India. First the "Sledging" & advanced to open abuse of crowds & verbal conflict amongst cricketers. The "Spot fixing" dates back to a S.African & migrated to Pakistan & now to India. "Where there is smoke there is Fire" - I like to add "where there is Money there is Greed". Go back in time to 60's & educate the present generation to Cricket culture. India needs both BCCI & IPL headed by such educators- not CEO's or "Money Lords"! That My Plea.

  • jay57870 on May 31, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    Sharda - The cleansing process is well under way: Investigations & actions by a host of concerned parties - law enforcement/police, courts, ministries of law & sports, apart from ACSU & BCCI commission. The Supreme Court has set a 15-day time limit for BCCI (ACSU) to report its findings. Significantly it's the outside agencies that have the long arms of the law & government. They will eventually determine the course of the cleansing process: whole truth about spot-fixing, due punishment for the culprits, corrective actions & stringent administrative reforms (S Manohar is spot on). They might even force action on the hot "conflict of interest" issue and - through due process - the fate of embattled Srinivasan (if he doesn't resign). If the "silence" is deafening, so is the media frenzy! Who wants to listen to politicians? Press conferences are a media circus anyway! Let the agencies do their jobs & justice will be served. Yes, change is inevitable & cricket will be "rescued", Sharda!

  • latecut_04 on May 30, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    I am from Kerala the state represented by the only test cricketer booked for fixing in IPL as of now and yesterday an elder relative of mine was wondering"what happened to this kid,he was everywhere and seemed so happy and energetic,how to stop this menace etc".The answer to this lament was given by a much younger friend of mine--"For this to stop people should stop watching this.As long as there is viewership this will prevail"...NOW we need to define the "THIS" in the preceding sentence.It doesn't mean the game of cricket it means fixing and cheating in the game.All this talk about ex cricketers heading BCCI,running the game etc are wishful thinking(what are a few ex doing as BCCI mouth pieces right now?)the fact is that there was always something fishy about IPL and serious cricket fans took many results with a few pinches of salt.If and ONLY if the ambiguity of the league starting from the real franchise owners is cleared we can even hope to see the end of fixing and murky deals.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on May 30, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    This is a country in need of cleansing. A small league is nothing in comparison. We need to get over this obsession with small time corruption in cricket.

  • UnwedUnfed on May 30, 2013, 1:48 GMT

    This is really much ado about nothing. Most Indian have always known that there has been match and spot fixing in the IPL - and this includes people who bet on the games (interestingly, they effectively bet on the probability that their bookie is the one who has the fix in). Scripted entertainment is still entertainment - and while the competition on TV is saas-bahu serials, I don't think the public is switching away from the IPL. As a somewhat related example, professional wrestling does fairly well on Indian TV. The IPL pretty much falls in that category now.

  • Nampally on May 29, 2013, 18:21 GMT

    "If the League is to rescue its integrity around the World, the BCCI must first rescue itself"- summarises the issue l. The first job is to move forward by putting Former Cricketers in charge of BCCI & rescue it from the money Lords. When Money is the main objective, there is little focus on Cricket as a sport. We have a Company CEO leading BCCI & running it like a money making organisation rather than a sport. Under his leadership, India suffered 2 successive series whitewashes in England & Australia. BCCI took it so lightly that even at home India suffered a severe mauling at the hands of England in the Test series. Thanks to a weak Aussie team that it gave India a measure of relief & respectability. How India fares in England in Champion's League will reflect a lot. Meanwhile IPL 6 has been marred with "corrupt culture" with 3 players + CSK owner caught with their hands in the till. Even the Umpiring is under review.New "Washing Machine" will only work with a totally different BCCI!

  • JerryV on May 29, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    There is an easy way to clean this up.

    Legalize betting in sports. Betting is a natural human tendency. By criminalizing it, all you are managing to do is to drive it underground and acquire some rather nasty undertones.

    I know they sell lottery tickets in India. How is this any different?

  • Chittappi on May 29, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    They have already killed their golden goose. Now they are hell-bent on frying and eating it. RIP IPL.

  • maneh on May 29, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    This is an excellent article. Besides the administrators, the role of the Indian media also needs to be examined. They have acted as hand maidens to the powerful in the BCCI; they have been complicit in this charade; and up till now have been embedded in the BCCI and IPL preventing them from asking the hard questions.

    More power to your pen!

  • on May 29, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    Lol...all the Indians and cricket followers who are crying foul!!! You do have a simple option....stop watching cricket (atleast anything remotely related to Indian cricket). As long as Indians are overly obsessed with cricket, Bollywood, those industries are going to take you for granted.

  • Amit_13 on May 29, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    There are several questions swirling in my head about this... Why is Srinivasan so indispensable? He was an unknown quantity not so long ago and the cricket world could honestly do with some realignment. I would love India to be dominant for their performance and not just their wealth. It is well established that pretty much all levels of IPL - adminisitration, players and Bollywood are involved BUT what is the extent of their involvement? How deep does this rot go? The oldest saying / practical advice to me was - if you need a shoe, go to a shoemaker; if you need a watch, go to a watchmaker. Then why is the BCCI whose job is to manage cricket affairs taking on the job of investigating corruption? Should it not be someone whose job is investigating all sorts to be taking this task on? Naive but.. Legal bias on the matter is irrelevant as sport by definition is expected to be fair. It also like chess where people have weighed up their chances of the high chair and now called for action

  • Rahul_78 on May 29, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    When Sreesanth and co were arrested BCCI president called them dirty cricketers, he asked for jail term and said he is personally hurt. When his son in law was arrested President responded by saying he in Son in law is over enthusiastic. No statements about morality, no feeling of hurt or anger even not a condemnation. Srini was stating about Sreesanth and co as a president of BCCI, why there is no statement of condemnation is issued when a franchise owner who has even more power and responsibility then a player is involved. Shukla who is IPL Chairman hasn't bother to condemn Guru. Agreed Sreesanth has done a big mistake but that doesn't make Guru's evil any lesser.

  • MAK123 on May 29, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    Good to note that now more and more people are acknowledging the fact that IPL and similar domestic tournaments are scripted on the lines of WWE. It is also heartening to note that Cricinfo, which once used to be very conservative, is speaking up through its able writers. I feel sorry for poor Younus Khan of Pakistan when he won the World T-20 trophy and referred to T-20 as 'good fun and WWF' and had to face the wrath of PCB - he retired from T-20 subsequently and never played the shortist version again.

  • MAK123 on May 29, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    "...that there was a chance that parts of the "cricketainment" could actually be pre-scripted". pretty much sums up the state of Cricket being played these days both on domestic and international level. Well done Ms. Ugra

  • TheOnlyEmperor on May 29, 2013, 5:25 GMT

    There are 3 aspects that Indian sports need to look at when speaking of cleansing: 1. The administrators in charge of governance : Almost all sports in India is controlled by a coterie, who elect the head from amongst themselves by turn. They form committees amongst themselves to look into governance issues which they themselves have created. Such a system will not work. It's integrity is already compromised and needs cleansing. 2. Governance related issues: What are the checks and balances, the bells and whistles, that need to be set in place to highlight misuse, deviations and corruption of the system... this should be audited by a regulator outside of the sports body and which the sports body needs to implement the observations and suggestions. 3. The internal and external people and bodies who threaten governance: Dirt attracts more dirt. Dirt needs to be identified and cleansed. The LAW must be such that loopholes are plugged. Governance always requires due diligence!

  • SpeedCricketThrills on May 29, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    No matter how much hue and cry is raised by media and public, BCCI will not climb down from its intrangisence unless the business houses use the swoed on sponsorship and media moguls stop bidding atrocious fees for media rights.

    Sahara has shown the way (though looks more political than based on principles). MNCs such as Pepsi, Coke, Citibank etc should apply the Corporate Social Responsibility guidelines and shun splurging on a game that has clearly been corrupted.

    That leaves us with media houses - and in the TRP war they are perennially into, they will never stop pampering and pandering to BCCI's greed, despite its arrogance.

    Srinivasan going mei Yappan (sic) or may not happen, but there is no guarantee BCCI as a whole (and the cabal, coterie and former players) will never change.

    It's all in the money, buddy!

  • venkatesh018 on May 29, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    IPL is the absolute and complete merger of Indian politics and Cricket. So it is perfectly natural that all that is rotten in Indian politics will permeate into cricket too. Nobody should be surprised, Sharda.

  • Sunrays on May 29, 2013, 1:12 GMT

    The IPL is one place where the concept of conflict of interest is being put to its biggest test. It is obvious Srinivasan cannot be both BCCI chief and part-owner of a franchise. The BCCI can appoint "independent" commission all it wants. But the fact that it is appointed by an organization headed by Srinivasan and decides the fate of another organization headed by Srinivasan, leaves its legitimacy open to question. Aside from Srinivasan, commentators and players also have vested interests in continuance of IPL. Nobody wants to criticize it openly. And this goes also with this website - espncricinfo. Who wants to miss the gravy train? The only people who are criticizing BCCi are those who want to replace Srinivasan, and media whose primary viewership is not from cricket. And then there is Sharda Ugra. i am not sure we will see Srinivasan behave responsibly. But at least Sharda is doing her job.

  • ToTellUTheTruth on May 28, 2013, 21:20 GMT

    Ok, I agree with whatever is said in this article. But let's look back on the life in India with a pinch of salt. We worship the convicted criminals with multi-thousand crore fraud committing politicos, who are IN JAIL, but still have such a fan following that defeats the logic. Even after all this breaking out, the crowd turn out for the final was around 70K. So, my point is that we can scream, kick, bite at the injustice all the way, but nothing seems to matter for the junta. There he was. The self confessed "I don't watch much T20" on the podium handing out trophies and watching the whole match. Come on! Why should we, the junta, be so different to IPL when we could not care less about the law makers that we send to parliament, knowing fully well their backgrounds and their audacity? In this so called "In Your-Face India", the only thing that is shiny are the slogans. Life goes as-it-is. "Blame the system", without ever acknowledging that you are part of the system.

  • on May 28, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    @cricket-india, you are really missing the fundamental point about sports. Sport is more than mere skill, it is the coming together of this skill or lack thereof with human endurance, grit, and a whole bunch of other qualities. When one guy who is a cheat defeats another who plays in the right way, it hurts. Its not a movie where grit is scripted. Imagine the joy when an unknown like Valthathy played that innings last year. A fringe player waiting on the sidelines forever and then exploding. Now if the bowlers had been bribed in that game, what shame it is for the batsman? Tell him to be OK to have his 5 minutes of fame seen as scripted! Every cricketing board should treat IPL like how touring Pakistan is treated - tell their players no IPL until an international outside group does the investigations and clears the processes. It might be an Indian tournament, but the game is bigger than one player, one board, or one arrogant leader.

  • ladycricfan on May 28, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    Sharda,, IPL is not an ICC tournament. It is an Indian domestic tournament. There are no laws and regulations regarding betting, other than it is illegal in india. Anybody found guilty will have a penalty to pay. While betting is legal in other parts of the world, wouldn't it be easier for everybody concerned to legalise betting in india? If it is legalised, will the illegal bookies have enough money to tempt vulnerable sportsmen? Why india is different to rest of the world?

  • on May 28, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    @cricket-india Are you saying that the alleged trio have performed the spot fixing because they were paid to do so? and we are not supposed to complain? Does your comment make any sense to you if not for me or others?

  • hhillbumper on May 28, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    it continues to amaze me that people will watch IPL>It has about as much heart as WWF.Yep its wrestling but we all know its staged.Yep we know IPL is vaguely related to cricket but come on it just looks staged.So again I ask why do people watch IPL or do you just like watching Cricket that is all flash bang and wallop?

  • cricket-india on May 28, 2013, 17:44 GMT

    contd from previous post... Stage-managed sequences are now part of our daily lives - a public that laps up 'reality' shows on TV can't take offence to one that's happening in a stadium in front of thousands of live spectators, really. IPL is just cricket's version of bigg boss or WWE!!

    So get over it guys, and get on with your lives. Rejoice at least in the fact that while every rajnikant film has him inevitably coming up victorious (it's all fixed!), not a single moment of any cricket match is predictable. You can never predict what will happen if X bowls to Y on the cricket field; someone, somewhere out there knows but he ain't telling, of course. If you can laugh at a scripted comic sequence, get titillated by a scripted lovemaking sequence and get a high watching some scripted and choreographed stunts actually performed under the safest of conditions, you can also enjoy a cricket match that's fixed (or maybe not, you never know with the likes of SRT and dravid still playing!!).

  • cricket-india on May 28, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    today all sports is entertainment; not just the IPL, not just T20 cricket, not cricket alone but all sports. The objective of sports has long moved on from being a glorification of human endeavor and a celebration of a player's abilities and skills to being a medium of entertainment that vies for its place in the scheme of things, competing with films, social networks and other sundry options. Now you're watching a film, the typical masala movie where salman bashes up the baddies without breaking a sweat. Do you walk out screaming the fights are stage-managed, the climax was scripted and the villians deliberately got smashed to pulp so the hero could be aggrandized and deified? Do you burn effigies of the director and producer? No you don't do that…you know everyone on screen is an actor whose role is written out for him and at the end of the day they're doing what they're being paid to do. That's exactly the case with the alleged spot fixing trio. They did what they were paid to do.

  • cricket-india on May 28, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    today all sports is entertainment; not just the IPL, not just T20 cricket, not cricket alone but all sports. The objective of sports has long moved on from being a glorification of human endeavor and a celebration of a player's abilities and skills to being a medium of entertainment that vies for its place in the scheme of things, competing with films, social networks and other sundry options. Now you're watching a film, the typical masala movie where salman bashes up the baddies without breaking a sweat. Do you walk out screaming the fights are stage-managed, the climax was scripted and the villians deliberately got smashed to pulp so the hero could be aggrandized and deified? Do you burn effigies of the director and producer? No you don't do that…you know everyone on screen is an actor whose role is written out for him and at the end of the day they're doing what they're being paid to do. That's exactly the case with the alleged spot fixing trio. They did what they were paid to do.

  • cricket-india on May 28, 2013, 17:44 GMT

    contd from previous post... Stage-managed sequences are now part of our daily lives - a public that laps up 'reality' shows on TV can't take offence to one that's happening in a stadium in front of thousands of live spectators, really. IPL is just cricket's version of bigg boss or WWE!!

    So get over it guys, and get on with your lives. Rejoice at least in the fact that while every rajnikant film has him inevitably coming up victorious (it's all fixed!), not a single moment of any cricket match is predictable. You can never predict what will happen if X bowls to Y on the cricket field; someone, somewhere out there knows but he ain't telling, of course. If you can laugh at a scripted comic sequence, get titillated by a scripted lovemaking sequence and get a high watching some scripted and choreographed stunts actually performed under the safest of conditions, you can also enjoy a cricket match that's fixed (or maybe not, you never know with the likes of SRT and dravid still playing!!).

  • hhillbumper on May 28, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    it continues to amaze me that people will watch IPL>It has about as much heart as WWF.Yep its wrestling but we all know its staged.Yep we know IPL is vaguely related to cricket but come on it just looks staged.So again I ask why do people watch IPL or do you just like watching Cricket that is all flash bang and wallop?

  • on May 28, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    @cricket-india Are you saying that the alleged trio have performed the spot fixing because they were paid to do so? and we are not supposed to complain? Does your comment make any sense to you if not for me or others?

  • ladycricfan on May 28, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    Sharda,, IPL is not an ICC tournament. It is an Indian domestic tournament. There are no laws and regulations regarding betting, other than it is illegal in india. Anybody found guilty will have a penalty to pay. While betting is legal in other parts of the world, wouldn't it be easier for everybody concerned to legalise betting in india? If it is legalised, will the illegal bookies have enough money to tempt vulnerable sportsmen? Why india is different to rest of the world?

  • on May 28, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    @cricket-india, you are really missing the fundamental point about sports. Sport is more than mere skill, it is the coming together of this skill or lack thereof with human endurance, grit, and a whole bunch of other qualities. When one guy who is a cheat defeats another who plays in the right way, it hurts. Its not a movie where grit is scripted. Imagine the joy when an unknown like Valthathy played that innings last year. A fringe player waiting on the sidelines forever and then exploding. Now if the bowlers had been bribed in that game, what shame it is for the batsman? Tell him to be OK to have his 5 minutes of fame seen as scripted! Every cricketing board should treat IPL like how touring Pakistan is treated - tell their players no IPL until an international outside group does the investigations and clears the processes. It might be an Indian tournament, but the game is bigger than one player, one board, or one arrogant leader.

  • ToTellUTheTruth on May 28, 2013, 21:20 GMT

    Ok, I agree with whatever is said in this article. But let's look back on the life in India with a pinch of salt. We worship the convicted criminals with multi-thousand crore fraud committing politicos, who are IN JAIL, but still have such a fan following that defeats the logic. Even after all this breaking out, the crowd turn out for the final was around 70K. So, my point is that we can scream, kick, bite at the injustice all the way, but nothing seems to matter for the junta. There he was. The self confessed "I don't watch much T20" on the podium handing out trophies and watching the whole match. Come on! Why should we, the junta, be so different to IPL when we could not care less about the law makers that we send to parliament, knowing fully well their backgrounds and their audacity? In this so called "In Your-Face India", the only thing that is shiny are the slogans. Life goes as-it-is. "Blame the system", without ever acknowledging that you are part of the system.

  • Sunrays on May 29, 2013, 1:12 GMT

    The IPL is one place where the concept of conflict of interest is being put to its biggest test. It is obvious Srinivasan cannot be both BCCI chief and part-owner of a franchise. The BCCI can appoint "independent" commission all it wants. But the fact that it is appointed by an organization headed by Srinivasan and decides the fate of another organization headed by Srinivasan, leaves its legitimacy open to question. Aside from Srinivasan, commentators and players also have vested interests in continuance of IPL. Nobody wants to criticize it openly. And this goes also with this website - espncricinfo. Who wants to miss the gravy train? The only people who are criticizing BCCi are those who want to replace Srinivasan, and media whose primary viewership is not from cricket. And then there is Sharda Ugra. i am not sure we will see Srinivasan behave responsibly. But at least Sharda is doing her job.

  • venkatesh018 on May 29, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    IPL is the absolute and complete merger of Indian politics and Cricket. So it is perfectly natural that all that is rotten in Indian politics will permeate into cricket too. Nobody should be surprised, Sharda.

  • SpeedCricketThrills on May 29, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    No matter how much hue and cry is raised by media and public, BCCI will not climb down from its intrangisence unless the business houses use the swoed on sponsorship and media moguls stop bidding atrocious fees for media rights.

    Sahara has shown the way (though looks more political than based on principles). MNCs such as Pepsi, Coke, Citibank etc should apply the Corporate Social Responsibility guidelines and shun splurging on a game that has clearly been corrupted.

    That leaves us with media houses - and in the TRP war they are perennially into, they will never stop pampering and pandering to BCCI's greed, despite its arrogance.

    Srinivasan going mei Yappan (sic) or may not happen, but there is no guarantee BCCI as a whole (and the cabal, coterie and former players) will never change.

    It's all in the money, buddy!