Three cricketers, S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila, have been arrested for spot-fixing in the recent IPL matches. There are debates and discussions being conducted all over the media. There is anger, horror and outrage at this. People are feeling cheated.
“Fixing” is the bane of many (if not all) sports. Allegedly every bout in WWF was choreographed and rehearsed. The book Freakonomics says something like that about Sumo wrestling. Similar rumours and allegations haunted the Williams sisters’ (Venus-Serena) matches (particularly the Wimbledon finals).
But let’s come back to cricket – our national obsession and pride. Cricket in India is an emotional experience for most. Depending on the match, it is either all about national pride or state and regional pride. In fact, during this season of IPL, Virat Kohli, a very popular member of the national team, deeply saddened by the catcalls and booing that he was subjected to in Mumbai said, “I don’t know what is wrong with people in this venue. It feels a bit weird because at the end of the day you play for India and you don’t come here to be hated. It has happened to a few players in the past as well. I don’t know why they get so worked up during IPL. IPL is not the end of the world. They forget that the players they are booing for also play for their country”.
When emotions run so deep, it is natural that the fallout of “cheating” would be extremely acute. IPL in any case has had a controversial run – first the whole Lalit Modi blow-up and now this. That is quite an innings in just 6 years (starting 2008, including 2013).
When IPL started, there was a lot of criticism about the controversial cheerleaders and the opening performances that were used to launch the series a few years back. These things were aimed at making it a big-show. So maybe that is exactly how it should be treated – as a show.
Let’s change the playing field. Let us consider it a show (or a serial) instead of a sport.
Think about it: every match can be scripted. There will be a certain number of fights (of varying intensities) in each match (episode). There will be high-drama (conveyed with extreme expressions and beeped out dialogues). A wicket, a big hit (six and four), crucial milestones (in number of runs or number of wickets) can be celebrated with a group dance. “Stars” of the same stature can be pitted against each other (only x will take y’s wicket – usse aur koi nahin marega!). The cheerleaders can be item numbers. Some matches – or episodes – can even have almost-fisticuffs. We can have nail-biting last overs. (Audiences will still enjoy it. Many, many people were actually biting their nails while watching the match in Lagaan and entire auditoriums resounded with claps at the last sixer.) There will be post-match conferences where the on-field warring individuals can either make-up or swear revenge, so that they get coverage in the following season.
The best part would be – no bookies (at best people may bet on whether a particular “episode” will be a hit or not – i.e. will it draw audiences or not). No fixing. No emotions. No hurt.
The worst? No sport!
Image Source: IANS