Once upon a time, we relied on third umpires and Umpire Decision Review System; now we live in a world where the decisions are referred to directly in tribunal hearings © Getty Images
Once upon a time, we relied on third umpires and Umpire Decision Review System; now we live in a world where the decisions are referred to directly in tribunal hearings © Getty Images

 

By Rahul Saraf

 

The year 2010 silently drew to a close with Sachin Tendulkar getting his 50th Test century and England retaining the Ashes. And what a year it has been! India keeping the numero uno spot for itself; ‘Mount 200’ being scaled; the selectors eventually realizing that Ravindra Jadeja isn’t going to be bitten by a radio-active spider which could transform him to a cricketer, and dropping him from the squad.

 

While we saw some riveting action in 2010, it was also a year where all the controversies overshadowed everything happening in the cricketing field.

 

We have arrived in a world today when the television broadcasters seek terror insurance cover for an event like the World Cup. It’s pure business of course, but doesn’t give the best of feelings to a fan or players, does it?

 

Whoever said that lightening does not strike twice was obviously not talking about Pakistani cricket. Just when the world would think the Pakistan controversy saga was coming to an end, we would be served with an unexpected twist to the tale which could make an Ekta Kapoor serial look almost credible. Ranging from ball tampering to match-fixing; from spot-fixing to disappearing wicket-keepers, we were made to witness everything. I guess if I was given a dollar each time Pakistan cricket made the headlines for the wrong reasons, I would today be rich enough to buy truckloads of onions!

 

Perhaps it is time they took a cue from an Ekta Kapoor serial and advanced their storyline to a period where there would be no cricket. We deserve better.

 

Also, time and again we have found cricket entangled in a legal mess. Gone are the days when things were settled in the cricket stadium – the battles have now moved onto the courts. Once upon a time, we relied on third umpires and Umpire Decision Review System; now we live in a world where the decisions are referred to directly in tribunal hearings. There have been enough legal cases or legal threats in cricket to provide the perfect script for a John Grisham pot-boiler.

 

PCB obviously follows Gandhiji’s dictum of not seeing evil, ignoring all the video footage. For how else could they have missed the glaring no-ball which would have prompted even Steve Bucknor to give a decision immediately? They have challenged the decision to ban the tainted trio.

 

Shashank Manohar obviously went to Bodh Gaya and sat under the same tree as Buddha once did. For how else would he have realized suddenly that two of the IPL franchisees had been breaking ownership norms for three years? The decision to debar them from the IPL was overturned by the High Court and we are still awaiting official word from the Governing Council if they will approach the Supreme Court.

 

The only thing that could have been worse than the happenings would have been some party knocking the doors of ‘Rakhi ka Insaaf’. But, hey, everything wasn’t all that bad in the cricketing fraternity.

 

Cricket was perhaps the only popular sport where any player’s indulgences in infidelity or unwarranted affairs was not reported (please don’t tell me that you believe Herschelle Gibbs in his autobiography).

 

As Charles Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us” – it was just that kind of a year.

 

We’ll see what 2011 holds for us. May cricket win!!!

 

(Rahul Saraf is a big-time cricket fan who likes to see himself as one who was born exactly 4500 days after Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar was. And unlike Sachin, he was gifted a cricket bat even before his 4th birthday – it’s just that Sachin learnt to make better use of it. Rahul’s blogs can be read at http://rahul-saraf.blogspot.com and tweeting at http://twitter.com/saraf_rahul)