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Stern action can hold wagging tongues

In many ways, Sunday’s Indian Premier League Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals clash at Wankhede Stadium was the greatest match in the tournament spread over seven years. Unbelievable games like these remind followers of the sport that cricket indeed is a game of glorious uncertainties.

However, minutes after Mumbai Indians’ wicketkeeper batsman Aditya Tare hit Royals’ pacer James Faulkner over square leg for six to win the match, cricket’s so-called enthusiasts gave their ‘fixed’ verdict on social media. It is a pity that every close game and against-all-odds performance are now deemed ‘fixed.’

Often, it is forgotten that a game can end off the last ball or a player can hit a six to win a game. And miracles can and do happen. The ‘fixed’ fixation means more work for the administrators. It is crystal clear that the fans have lost faith in the game which was once pure to them.

What the men who rule cricket can do is to completely alienate those who are proven match/spot fixers so that all stakeholders of the game can be convinced that the culprits — be it rookie players or veterans — are brought to book.

Not only should offenders be banned for life, they also ought to be shown no sympathy when it comes to opportunities to earn a living through a cricket-related avenues. Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir, the young fast bowler who obeyed his captain Salman Butt to spot fix in the Lord’s Test against England in 2010, is now attracting sympathy from some quarters because he is only 22 and admitted to his crime.

Letting him resume his career would be a poor example of the much-proclaimed zero-tolerance to fixing. Cricket will continue witnessing cliffhangers, but showing even an iota of sympathy towards players who disregard integrity will bring this game crashing down.

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