RP Singh… Man of the Match? © IANS
By Vincent Sunder
Please note this is a humour article – work of pure fiction
Unfortunate has been the plight of the true Indian cricket lover, particularly for the follower of the Indian Premier League (IPL). In fact the plight is worse than those in the limelight, or lowlight! And the ridicule heaped on the fan by his/her non-cricket loving and/or IPL-hating folks just adds to the misery. It’s something that a true cricket fan or an IPL fan, who makes many huge sacrifices to patronise the game simply doesn’t deserve. Anyone and everyone involved with the IPL teams, other than the ordinary fan, have benefitted from the game, but perhaps for betting losses and some jail time. But ever since the recent news headlines about the IPL surfaced, it has been silent suffering and also ridicule for the poor, innocent Indian cricket fan.
How do we make things better? Quite simply, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the government and the police aren’t going to help, for they will never be able to eradicate betting or fixing. It is like speaking of eradicating corruption completely out of the system. Utopian existences are a pipe-dream; only smoke will emanate from these pipes.
So, here is the solution to make the game more enjoyable and transparent for the Indian cricket fan.
For starters, make betting legal. In fact go one step ahead, and also make match-fixing legal. Does this suggestion elicit an incredulous look? Well, sit back and think and be honest. Have we not made a bet in our lives? That bet wagering a banana, or an ice-cream, or a movie, or a beer? Or didn’t we make a plea or request to help FIX a school or college admission, or a job, or a sale contract, or get that important land Khata paper, or a driving license? Well, please don’t feel bad, in some way or the other we aren’t as pious or honest as we wish we all were.
So, now that we agree that betting and fixing should be made legal and allowed, let us look at the way this can be implemented. Let us also figure out the many ways in which this will make the game much more enjoyable for the Indian cricket fan.
1. Allow every IPL side, as with the foreign players, to have four players who can engage in betting and fixing.
2. The names of these fixers shall be kept a secret till the end of the game, as it will add to more enjoyable viewing for the fan.
3. Since everything about cricket needs sponsors, we need a sponsor for the fixing, and who else but the D Company? There could be some strong Indian contenders, but well…
4. The Man of the Match will be done away for the “D Fixer of the Game”. Aside from other things, an expensive pair of jeans and a towel will form part of the award!
5. A black face mask for best fixers will be introduced, and the purple and orange caps shall be banished.
6. IPL team owners must have a good track record — arrests, allegations or whatever proving past misdemeanours will be essential eligibility criteria for potential franchisee owners.
7. Not just post-match parties, but during-match parties will also be introduced. When not batting or fielding, players shall not waste time in the dugout but be socializing and make ‘contributions’.
8. As players enter the ground, cell phones will not be taken away, but custom programmed Super Smart phones will fast dialling features will be made available to all players, to be used even on the field.
9. Cricketer statistics will have one more column added. Successful and unsuccessful fixing endeavours.
10. The likes of Mohammad Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar can get specialised roles with
the IPL Teams. Participation of Pakistan in IPL will get a big boost, albeit not on the field.
11. Of course, the Fair Play Award will have to be buried, and in it’s place with come the MVF [Most Valuable Fixer].
12. Sharjah will be the venue for all IPL finals with Asad Rauf as one of the umpires.
Now that we have a dozen IPL Commandments, let us see how the ordinary paying patroniser, you and me, will reap benefits:
1. Families can have fun arguments and discussions on who are the fixers in the game for their side, and place family bets as they watch the game.
2. A Twitter hash tag covering fixers would simply add to the overall enjoyment
3. “Hey, I think he is a fixer for this game. Did you notice, he spat out chewing gum? That is THE signal”
4. “Well, I’m dead sure he is the fixer. See, how every time he gets bowled he goes on his hunches as if to make believe the ball kept low, when the ball was actually hitting the upper half of the stump? That surely is a better signal than a towel”
5. “Whoa!! See, see that!! Screaming and swearing about mother and sister is the signal to the bookies!!!”
6. “Two balls, four runs, two wickets! It all boils down to how the fixing is going to determine the outcome of this game!” will scream the commentator.
7. Imagine, the fan will not just worry about the run-rate or pray for a wicket to fall, but will also heatedly discuss who the fixers for the game are, during the game.
8. Post-match “D Fixer of the Game” interview responses will be, “I am grateful to Bhai for having had faith in me and helped me fix this game like a Tiger!”. All those years of practice and skulduggery has really helped me win this most important award. I am grateful to all those who had confidence in me!”
9. “He has a great and enviable fixing track record; I’m sure the bookies are backing him heavily!”
10. If the 2013 Chennai game between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore was to be replayed, RP Singh will be the Player of the Match. Right?
When all this is implemented and we are all a happy bunch of crickizens of India, a beaming Rajeev Shukla will steal a line from Ravi Shastri and quip, “At the end of the day, apart from the scoundrels, all of us and kirkit are the winners!”
(Vincent Sunder aspired to play Test cricket, but had to struggle to play gully cricket! He managed a league side to title triumph in the KSCA tournaments. He was debarred from umpiring in the gully games after he once appealed vociferously for a caught-behind decision when officiating as an umpire! After two decades in the corporate sector, he became an entrepreneur with the objective of being able to see cricket matches on working days as well. Vincent gets his high from cricket books and cricket videos and discussing cricket)