A Realistic Point of View on Match Fixing

July 7, 2010

As cliched as it might sound and as much as we might want to deny it, most of us cricket lovers will admit that that the suspicion of fixing occasionally creeps up on us. Paul Condon, head of the Anti Corruption unit of ICC talks rather realistically about the threats. I found it refreshing that he accepts while it’s possible to deter fixing, it might be impossible to eradicate it completely. I found it equally surprizing to find that cricket is one of most fixed (and bet on) of all sport, including horse racing!

With Condon passing on the reigns, and other changes in ICC, one can only hope that whatever sanity that is left remains.


IPL 3 ends IPLGate begins

April 26, 2010

So the IPL 3 is finally over and CSK have won. But the cat-fight between Lalith Modi and BCCI has just begun. Throw in a few cabinet ministers and a intelligent, good looking, foreign educated ousted one with an attractive friend and you’ve got something that’ll do more to ad revenue than perhaps even the IPL final.

Honestly I’m quite ambivalent about the whole saga surrounding the IPL. Modi is perhaps getting more than his due for the heavy handedness that he’s personified, the BCCI may escape without getting it’s due of rotten tomatoes and worse.

On the other hand, it is sad that India and Indian cricket’s image is taking a hit; its face is now marred again with the soot of corruption and match fixing. Whether people admit it or not (for fear of BCCI’s financial clout), the skepticism surround match-fixing that was almost buried after the Sharjah era is in all fairness back. It is now almost ok to ask if the final was fixed and whether that was part of the reason for sending Pollard in down the order. But it is also baffling. Perhaps that is why I fell asleep half way through Mumbai’s innings maybe it was too lacklustre to be true (but I made up by watching the entire post match ceremony till 2 am).

This time it will take longer to douse the suspicions. But life will go on. With the T20 World Cup only days away, even before the withdrawal syndrome sets in, we’ll be discussing why Dale Steyn isn’t overrated.

Finally watched Jannath

September 19, 2008

Ever since the seemingly cricket based Jannath hit theatres, I’ve been wanting to watch it. By the time I figured out which theatre to go to, on which weekend, at what time, it was gone. 😦 So after lingering in my things to-do list, watching Jannath took a back seat to life. But finally, it happened as, the movie TV debuted last weekend on UTV.

I must admit, my hindi is rusty and that’s being very mild, so maybe there were finer aspects of the story I did not get, but as a cricket fan, I was disappointed. What I expected was a thrilling run through of how matches are fixed. What I saw was a standard Bollywood flick wrapped in cricket-flavored paper. Pradeep Magazine’s Not Quite Cricket gives you a better run down of strange world of match fixing.

So what was it? Basically, boy meets girl with a twist. Emran Hashmi meets Sonal Chauhan at a mall and is smitten; what he is also smitten with is lust for money. One things lead to another, and Hashmi ends up in South Africa and joined the big league of match fixers. He fixes one match by promising the captain of an “Asian-looking” country to throw a match, and another by promising to take another captain “fine-leg” watching. We see that the captain gives in, after he gets his century. 🙂 The strange part is that the “fixed” game was being played like an ODI, but in whites and the cricket ball is red, mind you; they speak of overs, and run rates, and runs to get in balls remaining, yet they also speak of first innings and second innings. Did they got get their basics right? That was a huge let down. Maybe I was expecting too much.

After this incident, the boy meets girl storyline continues, boy goes to jail after girl shows him up after being distraught on finding out what he does for a living, boy comes out of jail, courtesy his match-fixing bosses. Girl urges him to quit the fixing business, he tries, but returns to it, after yielding to his persuasive bosses. Then, as you if didn’t expect, there is a World Cup tournament. Again, players are in whites, and there is talk of innings. In the climax scene (yes, spoiler follows), one of the key players slips from his Asian looking, Hindi speaking, team in the reception area of a hotel only to have his English-looking coach find out and follow him. The player meets Hashmi, obviously, in a very public area of the hotel, which is strangely deserted, and trades money as Hashmi tells him how many runs he will get. Enter the coach, Hashmi’s henchman, who is also with him, takes his gun out and in a series of movements, the coach gets killed. The police arrive, the player blames Hashmi and the latter tries to escape only to meet the now-pregnant Sonal who urges him to surrender. The tragic end is that when as surrenders, drops his gun, he also drops a diamond ring – which he has kept ever since he first met Sonal at the mall – right next to it. When he bends down to pick up the ring, the police shot him dead and Sonal cries. The movie closes with Sonal and a little boy (their son) going grocery shopping. She runs out of money at the counter and the little boy puts some of his stuff away saying “Maa, mujhe yeh nahi chahiye” – something his father could never do.

I would give the movie 5.5 out of 10 for storyline and a full 10 for the music by Pritam, which I have enjoyed for some time now. I wouldn’t say that watching it was a waste of time, but it could have been a much better movie, as it didn’t really do justice to cricket wrapping paper it boasted of.

Phew! Had to get that out!