Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Is lure of money confined only to cricket?

News about the Pakistani cricketers involved in “spot-fixing” was a shocking revelation. This is not the first time and certainly it won’t be the last. The lure of money has made even the strong willed persons to succumb to the temptations and hence lesser mortals falling prey is no surprise

Newspapers had it in their front page. The media grabbed this scoop with both hands and splashed the video footage all day long with panel discussions with eminent people. The channels were vying more for their target rating points (TRP) and not so much for their concern for the issue. If they were really concerned about bribery or corruption, there were so many cases involving our politicians, MP’s and Ministers which have been there for ages. Not a single case has been brought to books and the concerned people put behind bars. Corporate and companies grease the palms of Government staff to get things done. Have we stooped to the level of accepting these occurrences as normal and routine?

I am not trying to down play the incident of match fixing. Let us get this straight. Whatever may be the temptations, the people involved in this spot- fixing will have to be sacked and imposed a life ban from playing any form of cricket. The severity of the punishment should be a deterrent for any player to even think of such an act in the future. My submission is why different yardsticks for different category of people. There are 150 MP’s in the Lok Sabha with criminal records. Our whole system comprising politicians, Ministers, police force, Judiciary, corporate etc… is in a total mess with bribe and corruption.

I don’t believe that the media cannot unearth these wrongdoings with clear video proof. If the media claims to be responsible citizens and the fourth pillar of democracy, then let them expose incidents of governance which really has put our country to shame. Even the Government has agreed that only ten percent of the financial aid earmarked for the poor reaches the deserving people. Middle men and politicians pocket the rest. Any Government which cheats the poor who have no other recourse is not worth governing the country. Politicians who enrich their pockets at the cost of the poor and downtrodden have no moral standing and should be banished. Unfortunately every political party is rooted with corruption.

Finally, what the media has done in the case of this spot-fixing scandal is commendable. Hopefully, with proper follow-up actions, this will cleanse the system. Let the media take more important issues that besets our country and help to cleanse the corrupt politicians and departments

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pitches that kill Test cricket

The second cricket test match between Sri Lanka and India at the Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo( SSC) was a farce of a test match. Have a couple of more pitches like this in every test playing country and it is a sure shot recipe for killing the test cricket. As such the advent of one day cricket and T-20 have shifted the viewership and interest away from test cricket. Hence it becomes imperative that sporting pitches are designed for test cricket so that connoisseurs of the game could see an even and fair contest between bat and ball.

Pitches like SSC where a total of close to 1500 runs were scored for just 17 wickets will drive even the ardent fans away from test cricket. Three centuries( Mahela Jayawardana,Paranavitana and Raina), Two double hundreds( Sangakara and Tendulkar) and Sewag's 99 are scores which were not surprising in this pitch. What would make news in this kind of pitch is when a batsman fails to score a century and in that way Dravid and Laxman made the headlines. The SSC pitch can write obituaries for many a bowler.

Many construe cricket as a batsmen's game and most rules are bent in favour of batsmen. On top of that if one comes across pitches like this, it is the ultimate death knell for the bowlers. Unless the respective cricket Boards ensure that strict orders are given to the groundsmen to make pitches which are conducive to good contest, it won't be far before we see the last of test matches.