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Ipl 2017
Anything but sport: cricket and spot-fixing
For several years now the general public has suspected that not all is well with Indian cricket or rather the way it is played in our country. But such was the love for the game that cricket lovers continued to patronize it despite the scandals that rocked it from time to time.

When IPL entered the scene those with prescience knew that cricket would never be the same again and not in a good sense, either. The very idea of auctioning players like cattle or slaves was quite disgusting, for one. And then, of course, the Bollywood, business and cricket mix made the whole thing commercial and artificial.

There is a purity about sport—any sport—which is all about conquering odds, pushing one’s boundaries and learning some lessons that stand us in good stead in life too. It is this purity that has been sullied now.

The big bucks, the glamour, the late night parties—the trappings that IPL came with gave an indication of where the game was headed. So, when the spot-fixing came to light it was not very surprising. What was surprising was that the people in question imagined that they could get away with it.

It reveals a degree of stupidity that one didn’t think them capable of. But more than the stupidity, it is the cupidity that is truly revolting. With the kind of money they are making through the games as well as endorsements, did they really need to throw away their future for a few measly lakhs? And if they were threatened by Dawood’s goons, weren’t they men enough to tell his henchmen to go take a hike? Of course with people like Sreesanth who cry buckets of tears at the drop of a hat one can’t expect anything more.

But what really takes the cake is the BCCI president, Mr. Srinvasan’s, attitude to the entire imbroglio. No less a person than his son-in-law has been implicated in the scandal and the man blithely clings on to his post making a mockery of what was once known as the gentleman’s game. In an absolutely unedifying spectacle, the man refused to step aside despite mounting opposition from the Board, the media and the public.

Even hard-core corrupt politicians have never displayed such pugnacity and greed for power. One is even forced to doubt his sanity under the circumstances. Even the fact that he has become the butt of ridicule all over the world seems to have had no effect on him. And it is truly laughable that he sets conditions for giving up power!  Not just his arrogance, but the petty vindictiveness with which he insisted that Sanjay Jagdale and Ajay Shirke should not be reinstated clearly shows that he is not fit to hold such office.

Unfortunately, the BCCI has shown itself to be an emasculated body by letting Srinivasan call the shots at the working committee meeting held on Sunday. There should be a way to oust such people from such positions with minimum fuss if they are not prepared to step down. And it is high time that sportsmen took over sports bodies. The public should also stop worshipping cricketers as if they are demigods. As it is, cricket bags all the attention and spotlight while other sports languish in the wilderness. This has to change. People must stop watching cricket if that is what it takes to clean the game.

Corporates too should not come forward to sponsor cricket until the bad eggs are gotten rid of. It is time to give a wake-up call to tainted players and greedy administrators by showing them that it is the ticket buying spectators who call the shots. The question is: do we have the moral fibre required for this?

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