“Be it in Tests, ODIs or T20s, the malicious creatures are there to be found in every avenue and instead of attacking one format for spreading corruption, it would be a wiser decision to accept that a few stray beings are present everywhere, removing who remains the only result”.
Where is my sport headed? Despite all efforts taken to eradicate sport-fixing and match-fixing by officials, administrators and players alike, a new sting operation by a reputed media house has claimed that the Test match between India and Australia in Ranchi was fixed. Shocked. Amazed. Unbelievable.
After the 2010 controversy threw light on the Pakistani trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, the International Cricket Council had taken severe steps to remove the many vices from the game. Despite a scandal that broke out in the Indian Premier League a few years hence, the sport had done well to win back the trust of its fans and its admirers by staying ‘clean’ and away from all ill. Except for the folly that had been committed by the likes of Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft with regards to the ball-tampering and a few isolated incidents that had seen South African Faf du Plessis rub his sweetened saliva on the red cherry, the game of cricket had remained relatively tarnish-free and unblemished. The game, with all its different formats, merged together and its amalgamation of players, remained a definite whole that spread joy and cheers amongst all its audiences.
Hence, when the news of alleged wrongdoings for money in the sport broke out again, the world stood shaken. It was not because of the fact that the game’s Holy Grail, Test cricket was in the news, it was because the sport had been called out. It is rather unfortunate that when one format of the sport trumps the other, a group of die-hard fanatics get ready to pull down the other format, without realising that to the global audience, it is cricket that is in the middle of it all. Someone who does not watch Test cricket nor the T20 format will hardly know the difference between the two – all they will know is that the sport of cricket is ‘unclean’, and a pothole of money, from which one and all should stay away.
Therein lies the problem. Instead of mudslinging and instead of attacking one format over the other, the root cause of the whole issue remains ignored. The fact that match-fixing IS prevalent in Tests, ODIs AND T20s get ignored in a desperate attempt to cover up one format’s “cleaner than thou” image. All it takes is one rotten basket in the whole arena of cricket to further ruin the whole spectacle and it is high-time that a fierce governing council gets to the middle of the whole incident, once the said media house reveals further details.
It is however but natural to feel a deep sense of void and a gloominess over the whole issue that is set to pan out. Test cricket, in particular, has given many memorable games in the last few years – something that all have enjoyed and indulged in. Be it the visual treat of the Day Night Test matches or the come-from-behind victories of the Indian team in England in 2014 or in South Africa earlier this year, the tales are endless. Bangladesh winning against Australia or levelling the series against England left all bedazzled and the remarkable journey of Ireland or Afghanistan to the Test status was nothing but a mesmerising feat indeed.
Watching a bunch of players from a war-torn Afghanistan get ready to make their foray into the Test circuit does fill one with pride, but it also injects a weird sense of worry – a worry that the young and the passionate guns who have taken up cricket without any selfish motifs other than to enjoy and contribute to the game can be thrown into the deep end, where they will face possible ‘criminals’ who might deviate them from the path of morality. Players who break blood and sweat to reach a position of power are the most vulnerable to getting swayed – the most famous example of which is when Amir was asked by his captain Butt to indulge in fixing. The greatest fear is that innocent blood might encounter a few beasts who might forever change their perception towards the game.
Be it in Tests, ODIs or T20s, the malicious creatures are there to be found in every avenue and instead of attacking one format for spreading corruption, it would be a wiser decision to accept that a few stray beings are present everywhere, removing who remains the only result.