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A journey from fame to shame

Posted by Shreyans Jain Tuesday, 4 June 2013 0 comments

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has been hailed as a great source of entertainment in India where cricket is a religion for a large number of people. The sport has, undoubtedly, been a strong unifying force and has often brought people together from all walks of life, irrespective of their caste, creed or economic status in the society. Such is the reverence shown to this sport that no other sport is referred to as to describe the ‘dignity, honesty, uprightness and integrity’ of a human activity as cricket. But unfortunately, sporting events like the IPL have led to the hyper-commercialisation of the gentlemen’s game to a point where it has nearly destroyed the soul of this sport and turned it into a religion devoid of any spiritual ethics. By indulging in heinous practices like spot-fixing and betting, which used to be the prerogative of the criminals, a few morally corrupt cricketers and an avaricious cricket administration have brought disrepute to the nation and cheated millions of cricket lovers by undermining their right to a fair game.

The unfolding of the recent spot-fixing and betting scandal is merely a manifestation of a deep rooted betting mechanism involving bookies and high profile personalities who have been exploiting the sport’s popularity, their financial and political clout and their links with the sports administration to sweep the financial irregularities and ever increasing venality under the carpet. By luring young cricketers who could easily succumb to the largesse offered to them by these unprofessional men, they have been playing havoc and controlling the matches to their advantage. Such lack of credibility and control over the wrongdoings has converted cricket stadia into gambling clubs!

The media as well as the spectators are equally responsible for the moral corruption of the sport that has today, fallen from fame to shame. It is a bitter truth that amidst humongous crowds in stadia, only a few come to watch cricket matches. A large number of people come just to ogle at the scantily-clad cheerleaders, hurl lewd remarks at them and capture their moves in their cell-phones with amorous intentions. For the rest, it’s an occasion to meet friends and organise parties or perhaps be caught by television cameras while ‘cheering’ for their favourite cricketers. The after-match parties organised for the cricketers by their team owners facilitate spot-fixing activities as the vulnerable cricketers are easily approached by bookies and their agents with the booty.

The need of the hour is to dismantle this structure of sleaze and corrupting culture. It is imperative on the sports administration, both morally and in the interest of cricket, to suspend or ask for the resignation of all such officials who are found to have links with the forces, both internal and extraneous, that have put India’s cricket establishment in the dock. Any cricketer whose involvement in this scandal is ascertained must be banned from playing cricket and severely punished for playing with the sentiments of the cricket lovers. The media should refrain from sensationalising this scandal and instead act prudently by indulging in investigative journalism rather that pack journalism. The cricket lovers may express their dissent and anguish by refusing to watch cricket matches till the sport is rid of its malaise and regain its lost image as a gentleman’s game. The body carrying out the investigation ought to be fair in its judgement than merely find a scapegoat and leave the real culprits to continue in positions of power.


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