Saturday, September 18, 2010


I have been away from blogosphere for about a week now. The Champions League Twenty20 has started and is midway through. And sadly, another round of fixing allegations are coming through.

There are allegations being made about the 3rd England - Pakistan ODI at The Oval, London... something about scoring patterns over different periods during Pakistan's batting innings.

I really hope that these allegations are not some cock-n-bull stories cooked up by certain fragments in the media to target Pakistan cricket and gain visibility as a result of it. After the revelations by the British tabloid News of the World (NOTW) during the England - Pakistan Test match at Lord's, I guess many other media and news agencies are vying to be the ones to release the next big breaking news.

When NOTW laid their allegations against certain players from the Pakistan team, they based it on evidences in the form of video footages that convinced more than half the world of the guilt of those accused. Sure, the investigations are still on and there will be more of bureaucracy involved as this matter progresses further. But what NOTW did was bring out their evidence into the open and put it in front of the world... so that maybe, when the investigations begin, the process would be a little more transparent than it usually is in such cases.

Compare to the new allegations coming through at the moment... about the run-scoring patterns. These allegations have not been based on anything that will classify as evidence in a court of law (unless ofcourse, such evidence has not been revealed publicly). In fact, the words used in the news articles describing such allegations is 'suspicious'. They are talking about suspicious run-scoring patterns, suspicious periods of play and more such things.

Now really, this sounds story in itself sounds suspicious to me. I may be completely wrong in my assessment if the allegations are proven to be true. But till then, I will say only this: the media must be responsible in breaking out their stories. By laying such allegations, they have tarnished what was a brilliant victory for the Pakistan cricket team and their hope of revival. This win could have helped them in a huge way to pick themselves up from this bottomless abyss. But now, not even a win for Pakistan will be looked at with any respectability.

Based on factors like pitch, conditions, bowler, batsmen involved, situation of play, etc, even I can predict the number of runs that will be scored in a particular over in most Limited Over matches. Does that mean that a media news agency should report a "Breaking News" because a cricket follower is claiming to make predictions over his blog? If the predictions are correct, will it be a case of "suspicious scoring patterns" for these media groups?

I am not very fond of media in any case and find them a very irresponsible segment of our society. And I do believe that whenever a news agency makes such allegations, they should be held responsible for their views.


Sanya Michelangelo said...

I do hope that these allegations are cock-n-bull stories because I don't want anymore fixing in cricket. I just want to watch and discuss about the game, not these shameful things. I think media is just bagging this opportunity. So many "real" match-fixing stories, cricketers revealing being approached by bookies, media is loving it.

Unknown said...

I am sure that there are many such rackets out there that media is capable of exposing, like what NOTW managed. But they do have to go about responsibly in that direction. We can't keep on having baseless accusations left, right and centre.

Soulberry said...

Jaju saheb, It is possible, I agree, that a degree of one-upmanship could be the strongest motivation here. But I am not prepared to discount The Sun's report.

The reason being, The Sun, unlike NOTW, and because of NOTW, did not need to and correctly did not release evidence through press.

From their report, it is obvious they had some evidence which was presented to a select audience of those investigating such matters. Perhaps the ACU and maybe Scotland Yarders were also there along with ICC fuctionaries as the eveidence was presented to them and then they watched the unfolding of the same live.

For the purposes of concrete action, that's a good way to go about - media expose has made it pointless to provide another "expose" and in fact may have made it a mistake to go ahead and do another expose. The expose has sensitized people to take these things seriously...and that's good and mission accomplished for media.

Now media should watch the agencies involved to see how they function and what action they take.

My interest is less in what can be brushed aside as allegations and more in concrete exemplary action.

Not that action will prevent others - players and/or lord of such rings - from future dastardliness, just that the talk about 'zero tolerance' will at least become real and after sustained action taking, maybe it will begin to have an effect on the disease.

I see similies with eradication of an infectious disease in this - one action or a single action at a point of time is fruitless in conquering the disease.

A multisectoral approach and which is also sustained and continuous till the disease is either eradicated or reduced to such small contained pockets that it is easy to isolate those pockets and incarcerate them under spotlights for ever.

If the disease is eradicated, then this multi-sectoral action must shift to a well designed surveillance mode looking for re-formations and recurrence, with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity.

The point is, is a game worth all that effort? Because it will take that much effort and a whole lot more than that as the world will begin to discover as it takes on Pakistan for instance. To a degree, it is already discovering what India has discovered long ago about Pakistan - that night is day there and day is night there...they believe it so...for a sustained action, co-operation of such peoples and governments (and thereby their internal policing agencies) is also required.

Everybody knows that many of these rings are linked to international gangsters and terrorists like Dawood Ibrahim and people like him. Some may be linked to locally influential people in all countries. To crack down upon them as an international body is not easy for so many variables come in ready to upset efforts.

I'll watch how it goes - India once took action against some people and again the problems started.

Unknown said...

SB, one may debate the issue of 'public exposure of sensitive evidence' for hours and yet come up with no definite answer. While it may help in transparency, public exposure may not help in further investigations, as you have correctly implied.

But to your question - "Is a game worth all that effort?", I have a definite answer. A big "YES"!

We are not just talking about a game here... but the society that we live in. This disease that infiltrates the game poses a threat to our entire society that we live in. And corruption is not good in whichever walk of life we belong. Eradicate it we must, no matter what efforts it takes.

Like I said, if the allegations of 'The Sun' are proven, I will definitely eat up my words and be happy to see some action taken to cleanse cricket further. But if they are not, I have already talked about the need of media to be more responsible in their reporting.