Friday, May 24, 2013

Regain the Faith

"You are blinded," said Dumbledore, his voice rising now, the aura of power around him palpable, his eyes blazing once more, "by the love of the office you hold, Cornelius! You place too much importance, and you always have done, on the so-called purity of blood! You fail to recognise that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be! Your dementor has just destroyed the last remaining member of a pure-blood family as old as any - and see what that man chose to make of his life! I tell you now - take the steps I have suggested, and you will be remembered, in office or out, as one of the bravest and greatest Ministers of Magic we have ever known. Fail to act - and history will remember you as the man who stepped aside and allowed Voldemort a second chance to destroy the world we have tried to rebuild"

- from Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 36- The Parting of Ways

Very wise words indeed from one of the wisest men in fiction. Also totally contextual when you think of the current IPL spot-fixing scandal. Replace Cornelius Fudge by the current cricket administrators and Voldemort by match-fixing and you have an apt parallel. Unfortunately with the slew of allegations & rumours flying around, we haven't identified the sane voice of Dumbledore around whom the true cricket lovers can rally and attempt to save the game they love.

This message is intended not just for N Srinivasan and the BCCI but for all the cricket boards, ICC and FICA. They have to work together to weed out the corrupt. And the faster it  is done the better for the game. ICC removing Asad Rauf from the umpire's panel for Champions Trophy due to him being under investigation is a good step towards regaining the paying public's faith.

There are two views being taken -
(a) by the "breaking news media" & the "trigger-happy" social media - everything is fixed and
(b) the official line of just three rotten eggs.
The truth, as it always happens, lies somewhere in between. Not everyone is corrupt and I would be quite surprised if the entire racket involved only the three players. BCCI lost one chance to come clean a year ago. It has been given another chance. It MUST conduct a proper enquiry into all charges/allegations while working along with the government agencies. But with allegations now hovering around the BCCI chief itself, it maybe quite difficult for anyone to accept the results of such an investigation.

The Spot-fixing scandal in the IPL has hurt. Despite all the murky goings-on in the past few years, there is a corner in my heart which still believes in the game. However with every new scandal that space is getting smaller and smaller.  Because the fixers take out the one element which makes sports  glorious - its uncertainty.

Personally I have been taking out my angst on the broadcasters by not watching the live telecast and doing my bit to lower their TRP (still following the IPL though). With lower TRPs, sponsors are unlikely to pay the huge amounts to come on board specially given the financial troubles the world is already in. Lack of sponsors will make the television rights less lucrative further lowering revenues. Stadium attendances world-wide are anyways going downwards. With lower revenues, BCCI loses its financial muscle and the power balance in the cricketing world shifts again.

A scenario which is quite likely to happen in the long run if the game does not clean itself. The paying public has enough other entertainment avenues. Hence its very important from the board's perspective to ensure that the fans who love the game keep the faith. It is a very difficult task to regain the faith once lost. And only concrete visible steps will ensure that people may want to trust again.

Act Now and then hope that you regain the cricket fan's faith

Nishant Kumar for DieHard Cricket Fans
Follow Nishant on Twitter @NishantSKumar

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