Betting, match fixing, too much money, fans’ pressure – did these contribute to India’s loss?

Posted: March 29, 2007 in Uncategorized

On account of the murder of Bob Woolmer, a lot of media attention centers around the role of betting and match fixing in cricket. And we also know that India and Pakistan are the most active in these areas, so there is a natural suspicion if the early exits of both these teams had causes other than cricketing ones.

Nothing can be said for sure, for even if these rackets exist and there is betting and match fixing, it is so well controlled that the common fan is almost never going to know the truth. Earlier, I have conveyed that really, it does not matter if matches are fixed! Yes, I said that..

In that respect, I feel that watching cricket can then be treated to be similar to watching a good movie. The director has already planned for the end, and it will be as he pleases, but we, as the audience wait with bated breath, till the end, to figure out what the end is. Let the cricket game also be so. Who cares. As long as the game is good, and we enjoy it.

It is only when the game deteriorates in quality that we feel cheated, and then, if its on account of match fixing, it feels terrible.

So speculating wildly that India’s loss could be on account of match fixing, how can that be so?

Well, like we were all thinking that it could be the last World Cup for guys like Sachin, Saurav, Dravid, Kumble, etc. And for which reason, these guys would want to work hard to see if they can get the World Cup home. On the other hand, think differently. This being their last World Cup, and betting being as large as it can possibly get, they could also have got their opportunity to make the most money, out of match fixing – that opportunity being again, something that will never repeat in their lifetime. If that was so, could they have chosen to throw the games away and made a huge packet each??

Could the obscene amounts of money that players make, without commensurate performance, have been partially responsible for the loss? Could be, for the following possible reasons:
a. The players are so rich that their egos do not allow them to listen to coaches or trainers. They end up doing what they want, and do not prepare adequately for the big games!

b. The money allows them to pay PR teams, and ensure that they stay in the news positively, even when they are failing. Examples of Sehwag and Harbhajan come to mind, in this scenario.

c. Do the large endorsement deals that players sign, get the marketing companies to influence selectors, to pick the concerned players, ahead of other deserving candidates?

Its for anyone to guess.

The role of the board, the selectors,the administrators of the game, and corruption in those high places, cannot also be underestimated. But that is such a cesspool that I cannot imagine what conspiracies could be playing out there!

Finally coming to the role that the expectations of a billion fans brings about, the fact is that when going is good, these same players are willing to ride those good times, and bask in the sunlight. Then, by the same token they should be prepared to face the brickbats, and also learn to handle the pressures. That can never be an excuse for non-performance or under-performance!

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