The Great Game
Oh no, Indian cricket is fixed! That's... logical
Oh no, Indian cricket is fixed! That’s... logical
It was a terrible week to be a film-star, IPL player, or Varun Gandhi. The corollary here is that it was, as a result, an excellent week to be in the comedy business. I tried to take my mind off all the rubbish current affairs news by watching Star Trek Into Darkness, but more on Sanjay Dutt later
The big news this week was the explosive revelation that the IPL may, in fact, be fixed. This changes everything. I have to go from pretending to support a team to pretending to be outraged at a team, and I have to pretend confess, that that's pretend exhausting.
Here’s what we know so far; three players from the Rajasthan Royals have been arrested for allegedly “spot-fixing” certain overs of certain games. Spot-fixing is different from match-fixing. When you match-fix, you swing the outcome of an entire game. When you spot-fix, you swing the outcome of one over, or one ball. This is largely because when you spot-fix, you are S Sreesanth, and nobody, not even a bookie, trusts you with the outcome of an entire game.
The three players in question here are Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan, and Ajit Chandila of the Rajasthan Royals. According to the police, in one game, Sreesanth agreed to give away 13 runs in one over, for which he was paid Rs 40 lakh. Personally, I laud the bookie in question for showing more faith in Sreesanth than anyone in the Indian team ever has, since Sreesanth usually gives away at least 19.
In another instance, Chandila was supposed to give away 14 runs, before which he was to signal the bookie by lifting his T-shirt up and down twice, and then looking up before bowling. Historians (after they’re done laughing) have taken this to be the origin of the Jumping Jhapak dance form.
Reacting to the controversy, N Srinivasan, president of the BCCI said that two or three bad eggs cannot bring the entire game into disrepute, following which he went back to owning the Chennai Super Kings and posing for the portrait that will appear on your screen every time you Google “Conflict of Interest”.
To those surprised by this fixing controversy, I say… nothing, because it would be rude to get into a fistfight with a 12-year-old. We live in a country where every game has (with apologies to Ravi Shastri) only two possible results; “India jeet gayi, sab fix hai saala” and “India haar gayi, sab fix hai saala.” This is a country where the billions of dollars generated by the cricket economy make the result of a game too important to be left to the vagaries of fate and fortune.
The game’s biggest administrators are politicians, who never go anywhere unless there’s a crore or 800 around to be nicked.
But we’ll take this spot-fixing controversy in our stride, and ten days from now, when someone lifts the IPL trophy in a picture-perfect finish, this’ll be a bad dream. In the land of jugaad, we’ve made our peace with this dirty little secret ages ago. And we, as an audience, are as complicit as anyone else. And in subtle, little ways, we pay. I can’t remember the last time I sank completely into the glory of an Indian win. It doesn’t matter how much you cherish that 2011 World Cup win, if you think about it long enough, the cinematic perfection of the finish nags at you like a gaping plot-hole.
This didn’t begin with Sreesanth, and it’s not going to end with him. All we can do is watch, enjoy the spectacle, and choose to be entertained. To choose anything else would be too depressing. These men aren’t going to jail, they’re going to Bigg Boss. And if one of them wins, I’m going to demand an audit of the votes because in one episode, Chandila adjusted his collar thrice and then looked left.
Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo. You can also contact him on facebook.com/therohanjoshi