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|May 12, 2000||
Catch-22 situationAbhilasha Khaitan
When does the game begin, and the fighting end? Good question, don't you think? Barely a couple of weeks to yet another ODI tournament, and I wonder how many of the cricketers playing, would have their heart in the game.
Think about it.
It has been suggested that the tournament be postponed/cancelled till such time there is a resolution to the current situation. To deaf ears, really, because this request has been denied.
Fair enough. If that is the way the powers that be deem it. But do they dwell even for moment on the merit of the suggestion? And the implication that the circumstances have on player psyche and fan morale?
It's tantamount to having been caught cheating in class on one day, and entering the classroom the next day. Cynosure of all eyes, and really, the attention is as unwanted as it could ever be. What is worse is when you aren't guilty of the act, but the accusation or an assumption hangs over your head like Damocles's sword.
The cricket teams world over are composed of players, accusing, accused and sundry. And each one of them runs the risk of falling into the second category. All it needs is an easy catch dropped, a poor stroke or a wide ball at the death. Lo and behold, the media loves you.
Look at the participants in the Asia Cup. The sub-continent has been the worst hit by the match-fixing/betting scam. A large share of the credit going to the non resident sub-continent bookies, and creatures of their ilk, residing in the sub-continent. Certainly, they are in cohorts with a few of the players, so they cannot be spared the blame.
Whether guilty, or otherwise, not one of these cricketers is going to be spared the agony of knowing that they are under suspicion. If the legends of their time, and before them, can be in the firing line, then it doesn't take a genius to figure out that even a Sachin Tendulkar can be pointed a finger at.
Knowing all this, and assuming that the game is played to bring joy to those playing it, as well as to those watching it, is there a point to having a tournament now? When there is very little to cheer for.
You may say that this may just be the reason to play, for Chrissakes. Let's get on with the game. Have some fun, cheer the blokes on. Sure. I'd love to. But, what do I do about these voices that keep whispering "cheater", "fixer, must be, look at how he's playing" and "how much do you think he's getting". And this happens irrespective of whether they win or lose.
It's a catch-22 situation. Worsening by the day, by the accusation. They say they're working towards a clean up. Wonderful. We'd love that. But, till such time that happens, don't trivialize the game further. Because what is being played right now, is just not cricket.
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