हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Gentleman, this isn't cricket anymore!

Written by: D Ram Raj
Published: Thursday, December 7, 2000, 20:10 [IST]
 
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Bangalore: One expected that the match-fixing scandal would die a natural death the moment the Board of Control for Cricket in India announced punishments for players.

But, even after the life ban on two players (Azhar and Ajay Sharma) and five-year suspension on two others (Jadeja and Prabhakar), the match-fixing issue seems to be becoming murkier and snow-balling into another bigger controversy.

No doubt India became the core of world attention following the disclosures of the Delhi police, a la Hansie Cronje. But, the comments from a few players and officials from within and without the country is throwing more mud on the already muddied and muddled issue.

Alan Border, the great Australian legend who broke Sunil Gavaskar's record for the maximum number of runs in Test cricket, chose to comment isolatedly on the punishments meted out to Mohammed Azharuddin.

Border's off the cuff comment that a "crime" similar to Azhar in any other field would have landed the offender in 10 years jail is indeed most shocking. One wonders why Border did not comment on the punishment meted out to Hansie Cronje, who also accepted to taking "money and trying to influence" the outcome of a match.

Such remarks makes on believe that some players and officials are trying to wash their linen (read personal differences) in public. A whole lot of players (including top foreign stars) have been named by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the scam. But, Border chose to comment in isolation to Azharuddin.

Did Border believe that the BCCI would ask the government to initiate criminal action? Even in his own backyard, Mark Waugh and Shane Warne have been fined by the Australian Cricket Board for hobnobbing with the bookies.

On the home front, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) vice-president Kamal Morarka is back at his "biting" best. And the latest victim is none other than BCCI president Dr A C Muthiah. Mr Morarka, in his own wisdom, has been wanting the Board to go soft on the players.

The whole country has been let down by the match-fixing scam and hoping that the government, the Board and those concerned with the game would come up with concrete steps to stop the menace and make the game more enjoyable. Still we have a lot of officials bickering, players claiming innocence and former players making off the cuff remarks.

Truly indeed cricket is no more a gentleman's game. A wide audience for a small sport (in terms of countries playing the sport) through technological innovations of the television and internet mediums appears to have corrupted the game further.

Will the Borders and Morarkas allow the systems in their respective countries to cleanse the game and allow the spectators the opportunity of watching cricket in all its pure joy or is it too late and asking for too much?

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