By Amrut Thobbi
Ekta Kapoor and the dream merchants of the television world are a worried lot these days. The makers of Hindi soap operas are concerned on the effect the Indian Premier League's (IPL) ability to grab the television viewers’ eyeballs with a series of off-field drama in the past week.
It all began with the spot-fixing controversy rocking the cricketing world. Shahrukh Khan's tussle with the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) officials then took centrestage. Even before that controversy died, the Luke Pomersbach controversy surfaced to give another flavor to the IPL masala.
Ekta Kapoor and her tribe may find a savior in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The BCCI has taken the first step by suspending the five players alleged to be involved in the spot-fixing. But Sports Minister Ajay Maken is not satisfied. "Suspending five players is not enough. BCCI must come up with a long-term solution for this problem," he said.
Consequently, at a high-powered meeting of the BCCI it was decided that the effort to root out corruption has to be broadbased. IPL chief and BCCI heavyweight Rajiv Shukla said: “The board will soon announce a “Spot the fixer contest”. India is a country with billion-plus cricket experts. Who better than the common man to catch the criminals?”
Viewers will have to name one player in every IPL game whom they are suspicious of indulging in corrupt practices during the course of the match. The cricketer who garners the highest votes will be investigated by the board’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU).
“The BCCI is a cash-rich body and would like to share some of its wealth with the cricket fans as well. As a gesture of the BCCI goodwill towards the fans, the board has decided to allocate Rs 15 lakhs for each match as cash awards for the “Spot the fixer contest” winners. The first prize will be Rs 10 lakhs, the second prize will be Rs 3 lakhs and the third Rs 2 lakhs. The three winners will be judged by lots from all the correct entries,” Shukla explained.
The winners will be invited to the prize distribution ceremony of one of the IPL matches were they will get the cash reward as also the ACP Pradyuman cap – an honour on the lines of the Orange Cap and the Purple Cap!
Shukla was not finished yet. He explained the rationale behind the board’s novel thinking to catch the culprits. “The BCCI has always been accused of being extravagant in its expenses. This exercise will definitely cut down the expenditure on investigations Moreover, it will reaffirm the fact that the BCCI is a truly democratic body – of the people, for the people and by the People. I’m certain even the Sports Minister will be happy with our transparent methods.”
(Amrut Thobbi, an engineering graduate now pursuing Masters in journalism, is an ardent cricket fan who likes to write spoofs, like the one above. His passion for writing inspired him to give up a sales and marketing job, which he does not regret. By writing on cricket, he wants to relive his dream of becoming a cricketer. He has also worked as a freelance writer in education and technology sectors)