It is raining fixes not sixes. The spot fixing scandal has changed the lexicon of the game. The A to Z of cricket:
A And it is not yet over, and there is more to come. And there are more matches under the scanner. And some ex-Ranji players are involved and there are so many skeletons rattling in the cricket closet… so say the cops, not a figment of this reporter’s imagination. So don’t dismiss this as: hey media puts masala and has a field day.
B Bookies, are what comes to mind, certainly not bat and ball. On the run, with the police hot on their heels they have given rise to the debate about whether betting should be legalised. Credited too, with giving cricket it’s biggest WTF moments. And that WTF stands for What The.. and the third word rhymes with duck.
C Cronje’s shadow falleth long in these turbulent times. The fallen South Africa captain who first put the spotlight on fixing, died in a helicopter crash some years later. Yet, it seems the fallen idol’s lessons have not been learnt. If dead men could speak one would hear Hansie Cronje saying: it’s just not worth it, guys.
D Delhi Police seems to have stolen a march over all the others by pinning down the culprits in the hi-octane drama unfolding on the cricket pitch. More Ds tumbling out of the closet -- dark, deadly and dangerous and hmmm.. we’re not talking about Clark Gable and Gone With the Wind. This has become a game of the Dons and we do not mean Don Bradman. Incidentally, another ‘D’ out there.
E Evidence, that’s what the cops claim they have in the spot fixing scandal. From laptops to phones and hotel rooms, it is all on the radar in the murkiest cricket controversy ever, which makes other sports scandals look like it was once famously said: a teddy bears’ picnic.
F Fixes not sixes is the mantra on the cricket pitch right now. Shots that breach the fence or sail into spectator stands are not the signature tune. Today, it is jhapaaak fixing, fixing, no jumpin’ silly, silly ya… let’s see all those ex-cricketers and chocolate boys shakin’ their hips to that one. Because you know as well as Shakira that hips don’t lie…
G Go-betweens, links or conduits, these now seem to be the keys to the plot. Now, some ex- Ranji players are being probed for acting as links between cricketers and bookies with their roots in the mafiaso. All this while the owners, some of the richest men in India seem oblivious to everything. Police want to get the go-betweens and make them sing like canaries.
H Honeytrap. Well show me the money, honey and show me the honey, Mr. Money. Bookies with their faces in shadow, spoke about how t’was easy to lure players with those jumpin’ jhapaak hormones with models. One thought that honeytraps were something out of Mossad novels. Well, honey, the game’s up, the players trapped. Go buzz elsewhere, right now.
I Investigation, is the I-word right now. Everything’s up for investigations from bowling to batting to fielding. Every gesture is under scrutiny. One day, maybe even the stumps will be checked for hidden stacks of cash, hawala money by the underworld spill out as a ball breaks the stumps. Ooh what a sight that would be but nothing would surprise us anymore.
J Jiju Janardhan and Jupiter, one can almost envisage a publishing house coming up with a book like the Giant Book of Bookie Names something like the Giant Book of Baby Names which parents-to-be pore over. This one can have names like Pydhonie Petro and Mumbai Metro and something Anil Dubai or whatever. Amusing and imaginative, who thinks of these?
K KKKcricket bhi kabhi clean tha -- Suggestions for Ekta Kapoor’s new serial which can have all the ingredients, suspense, young men with female companions (ahem), crying mothers and fathers crying foul. Let’s have a new kind of disclaimer to this cricket soap: All characters in this serial are not fictitious. Similarity to real persons is purely intentional and certainly not co-incidental.
L Lawyers are working overtime these days to prove client innocence. Legal eagles soaring over that cricket pitch claim that the charges would be difficult to prove in a court and confessions could be said to be made under duress. To think before, all one needed was to learn the laws of the game. Today, players come armed with lawyers and protection clauses. Earlier, the only protecion a player had was the groin guard. No wonder critics say cricket has been a lot of b…s.
M Money, money, money it ain’t so funny in today’s cricket world. It is raining lakhs and crores on players who, it seems just can’t get enough of the cash. These greedy guys for who nothing is enough, need to read some poetry like: O what a tangled web we weave; when first we practice to deceive.
N Nupur Mehta and N Sreenivasan, they make such an incongruous pair, the former a model used to lure players while the latter the president of the powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Today, though nubile (or otherwise) Nupurs are the bait for our boys in blue, like that cliché goes, while the Sreeni needs to become a tough meanie.
O Overs were going for R20, 40 or 60 lakh like the cops said and that’s a huge amount of moolah for half-a-dozen deliveries. Till right now, it looks like the bowlers are the only ones caught up in the fixing business. Yet, let’s not count out anything as of now, with the plot still unfolding YJNK -- You Just Never Know. Cricket is a game of gory uncertainties.
P Paaji (Sherry) and other experts on the panel, it won’t hurt to speak the truth sometimes. Yes, yes, we know the IPL gives you the bread, butter and the jam but let’s face it: jhapaak jhapaak jumpin’ jumpin’ don’t quite cut it any longer. We need one of those famous shaayris by Sherry Paaji on the fixing phenom and we can say bah, bah, instead of wah, wah.
Q Quiet and no leaping around, one is tempted to say, when you see those cheerleaders still having the courage of their contortions singing and dancing at the shots. We said courage of their contortions and not convictions as, not even those blondes- just-wanna-have-fun-babes, look very convincing these days.
R Rajasthan Royals, not looking too royal off late, or loyal really with three players in the dock for spot fixing. Owner Shilpa Shetty needs a long yoga session to see off all the stress this has brought on. Husband Raj Kundra would benefit with a soul searing, heart-baring interview to the press. Owners, your team players say they have SOS - Sold Our Souls to the highest bidder.
S S Sreesanth, what can one say about the bowler who threw a mobile phone at the police, dropped political names and tried to brazen out from being picked up by the cops? The perennial bad boy of Indian cricket, maverick, twisted talent has a new label to his name: that of cheat. This one’s going to stick for a long, long time.
T Tears flowed freely, as cricketers broke down and cried as the police grilled them. Sreesanth cried and Shivaji Park local Ankeet Chavan, was crying too. In a more innocent world, players cried during retirement. One remembers Dilip Vengsarkar crying after Mumbai lost the Ranji Trophy. Columnist Shobha De had termed it sexy. Today, boys cry at police grillings. Hmmm. Grilled on a barbecue fired up by the rage of a nation.
U Underworld casts its ominous shadow on this IPL. Suddenly everything is not about googlys or slips and gullies but about gangtas. Dubai-based ones at that. Holding guns to cricketers’ heads. Threatening them with: ‘hit a six or we fix you’ or whatever they say. Players and assorted individuals, quakin’ in their cricket boots. Weird is the word.
V Villains, all ye who cheat the world. So, who says the IPL is for cricketers? Till now, it looks like the perfect stage for cops, bookies, mafia bosses, conduits, links, henchmen, yes men, mess men and women whose vital stats matter more than the numbers on the scoreboard. All of them crawling out from the rotten woodwork that is this league.
W Who needs spy thrillers these days? The police apparently went on a high-speed chase in order to nab Sreesanth, through the streets of Mumbai ending up at Carter Road. Speeding cars, sirens etc. etc. the operation was called Operation Marine Drive U-Turn. Move over John Le Carre. We have a rocking plot at the IPL.
X Everything is XXX like they say in those only for adults movies.. cricket is moving towards dangerous territory. Big money and babes are now the bywords in a sport which used to be a gentleman’s game. Gentiiiiilman? Who are you kidding? Starlets and models maketh this one for the censors scissors. Bas kya?
Y Y are we watching this anyway? So, that technically does not start with a Y in fact, but, just like everything seems twisted in this game, anyway, why can’t we take a little license with letters? With faith fading like a pair of worn out jeans, the spectator is wondering whether he has been made something that rhymes with tutiya. Yes, he has.
Z It is cricket’s zero hour. After so many allegations, evidence and pages that seem right out of a spy novel rather than a cricket match, is there anything left to salvage for this game? Clean up quick or soon, the only fans left will be the ones whirring on the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) office ceiling.