Cricket And Fixing: ICC Champions Trophy Begins!

The ICC Champions Trophy-2013 in England and Wales begins with the inaugural match between India and South Africa today. At a time when cricket or more specifically Indian cricket has been hyped to the height by the media for all the wrong reasons. The raging IPL Spot or Match Fixing scandal has cast a shadow of grievous doubt on players of Team India, its bosses and administrators. Fittingly enough Team India has a captain who had been right royally gagged by his corrupt cricket Board bosses and the right royally loyal captain has been obsequiously  observing the gag order even in England. Add to this his alleged conflict of interest concerning a management firm where he acquired stakes and put in his favorite cricketers as clients for whom he enjoyed the absolute authority of selection for the national team. Why bother! His cricket Chief had a more sinister conflict of interest with his son-in-law—the boss of an IPL franchise CSK captained by the Indian national captain—in jail and yet nobody dared ask him to resign. Therefore finally it is the ‘conflict of interest’ for the genuine Indian cricket fans who will continue to have doubt over all the possible results for India—victory, loss or tie. Only abandonment of matches due to rains is above doubt, because rains cannot possibly be fixed!

However, from the extremely ‘cricket’ part of the scenario Team India seems to be in a good nick for the tournament after winning the first warm-up match against Sri Lanka and crushing Australia in the second. But the top order batting is yet to deliver, and it was largely thanks to Dinesh Karthik and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni himself plus the young Indian fast bowlers. Like India South Africa is also a line-up of young and relatively inexperienced players, but more worryingly without the services of Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis who opted out due to personal reasons. While all Indian players have benefited from the ‘cricket’ of IPL despite the mess, the South African ‘cricket’ stalwart of IPL Dale Steyn also looks doubtful. Cardiff pitch is likely to help both batting and pace bowling, and considering Indian vulnerability to pace in greener pitches South Africa still could dominate India. Tagged as ‘perennial chokers’ in big tournaments South Africa too could crumble if Indian batsmen and fast bowlers deliver. Fixing or no fixing any of the three possible results are immensely plausible in this big match.

Another ‘cricketing’ highlight of the ICC Champions Trophy-2013 is the new set of rules for one-day cricket becoming effective from this tournament. As a big help to bowlers now there will be two new balls from both wicket ends which may of course negate out reverse swing and the bowlers can now bowl two legal bouncers an over. The other rules are; five fielders will have to kept within thirty yard circle throughout the matches and there will only two sets of powerplays—the first mandatory ten overs followed by the batting powerplay that will have to be taken before the 40th over.

So then, there is lot of ‘cricket’ despite fixing. What if all cricket legends who still maintain ‘loyal silence’ flocking back to egg you onto cricket! What if all the ‘paid to comment’ cricket experts flocking back to take you ahead in the encounters! You are still absolutely your own master to decide what to do with ‘cricket’ and ‘fixing’!

As for the ‘fixing’ part, Gurunath Meiyappan and Vindoo Dara Singh were granted conditional bail by a court in Mumbai on 4th June even after being remanded to judicial custody till 14th June on 3rd June. More hopefully, Delhi Police had applied MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act-19990 against all 26 bookies and cricketers including Sreesanth on June 4. This will enable Delhi Police to file charge-sheets within six months and the accused will be able to plea for bail for at least one month. Since yesterday interrogation of the boss of Rajasthan Royals (RR) and his business associates by Delhi Police has been going on. As per latest reports Delhi Police say that RR Boss Raj Kundra, husband of joint owner and Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty, had confessed to placing bets on his own team and his passport had been seized. After Gurunath of CSK Kundra becomes the second team boss who have been used to betting on their own teams revealing strategic information to the bookies.


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