Corruption in cricket is killing cricket - HKYantoYan - HKYantoYan

Corruption and Commercials Crumble Cricket

By on June 18, 2013

We may have won the Champion’s cup, but there is no doubt that Cricket is in trouble. Cricket in India was once a religion, and its sportsmen were Godsend. While their followers may have had their days of doubt and anger when things didn’t go as intended, most of them maintained their faith throughout. If not the result, at least the process was natural and enjoyable, they’d rationalise with their inner skeptics. Recently, though, cricket has not only been losing its reputed aura and followers, but also its innate knack of delivering excitement has depleted, along with its commercial potential.

Cricket was once a religion. How about now?

Ironically, it is the greed for a greater individual commerce that is actually destroying the sport’s current commercial value. Amongst others, three Indian cricketers of the Rajastan Royals team in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) 6, one of the world’s leading domestic cricket tournaments, have been alleged for fixing.  One of them is the international Test bowler Sreesanth, who is often the target of media scrutiny, while some of the others rumoured to be involved also include several political dignitaries and Bollywood personalities. Fixing in general has been so prevalent in IPL, that ‘prophetic’ messages detailing the results of forthcoming matches are often circulated before prolific matches, even on social media. Understandably, it hurts to learn that those dropped catches, no-balls, and dot balls, which excited audiences and opponents to no end, could have all been planned and conspired. But before one naively blames only the Indians for tarnishing the image of cricket, the uninitiated ought to be reminded that cricketers from other nations have also been recently caught for corruption in cricket: three Pakistanis were jailed for their spot-fixing misdemeanours against England in 2010, while this month Bangladesh’s Mohammad Ashraful has also confessed to match-fixing.

S. Sreesanth was questioned by BCCI

S. Sreesanth was questioned by BCCI

Such is the extraordinary hype in and around Indian cricket though, that one mostly hears of just them. Unsurprisingly then, countless organizations have cashed in on them for brand endorsements. Whenever a sportsman temporarily loses form, the inside joke would be that he was spending more time modelling than at training. After all, endorsements is a win-win proposition for all; it gives the sportsmen plenty of goodwill publicity and multiplies their bank balances, TV channels anticipate a rise in TRP as they broadcast celebrities in action, while the brand themselves envision credible growth whence promoted by a recognized national sportsman. Sadly, what also often grows as a result of their increased endorsements are the cricketers’ inflating egos. Yuvraj Singh seems content on making his living by resting on his laurels more as a cancer survivor than a current cricketer, Virat Kohli sees his popularity as a ticket to boost his captaincy chances or flare up at his nearest opportunity, while Sachin Tendulkar picks and chooses the trainings and matches he wishes to play in just as he would pick his next car to purchase. While each of them have worked hard to earn their deserving positions, one can’t help but extrapolate their attitudes into arrogance.

For a team already equipped with such paparazzi and prosperity, it is hard to see how the enticement slight increments could lure them into corruption. Unfortunately, it seems that those who are not as blessed with a sellable personality or confidence become the  most vulnerable target. As the rich get richer, the apparent disparity inclines other talented individuals into selling their morality. While this is no excuse, one shudders to think of what could happen if this trend of self-victimization continues. Spectators would feel like they’re not watching a genuine team sport, but just a group of incomplete and unhappy selfish individuals commercializing themselves as commodities.

Indian Cricket and Corruption

To assume that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is ignorant and not involved in the mishappenings would be wishful thinking. Fact is, the BCCI financially and politically is too strong to be influenced by any disciplinary measures suggested by International Cricket Council (ICC). If anything, the ICC seems to succumb to the BCCI as it supports them by scheduling more matches for the Indian cricket team than most of the other teams. Consequently, the Indian cricketers become even more recognized, while simultaneously the total cricket betting increases, thus sowing the roots of further fixing and corruption in cricket.

Although we shouldn’t turn a blind eye on these misdemeanours, we cannot command cricket to stop altogether; genuine cricket enthusiasts could be denied their entertainment and livelihood. Before more people crumple their faith on the sincerity of the sport, now may just be time to introspect and drive cricket back to the steerings of the players on the field, rather than in corporate offices.

Do you think about the corruption in cricket? Leave a comment below: 

Suraj Samtani
Born and brought up in Hong Kong, Suraj explores the depth of his Indianised experiences of Hong Kong through his writing. As an awarded poet and published academic writer, he looks forward to turning a new page with his innings at HKYantoYan.
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One Comment

  1. Crayton Lewis

    June 27, 2013 at 10:13 am

    A few comments on his article.

    A) I don’t think it is fair to let individual performances be overshadowed by corruption in Cricket. Corruption of cricket has always been rampant; we saw it with Azharuddin, Hansie Cronje, Salman Butt, the list is endless. Why is there only an “Indian angle” to this?

    B) In your post, you’ve chosen to scrutinize Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar. Yuvraj rests on laurels gained by surviving cancer? The man you a referring to helped India achieve the World Cup in 2011 and you still choose to brand him as a person glorifying his past.

    Virat Kohli is the Indian cricketer with the highest number of endorsements. I don’t think brands in our marketplace would would use an icon that performed pathetically. He is captaincy material – we saw that with the Royal Challengers in the IPL and the Indian Under 19 team.

    I’m a bit baffled at how Sachin has made this list as well. He is arguably the best ever batsman the world has seen. The guy has retired from tests and T20 and hasn’t been selected in the ODI team. Ironic how one still expects a 40 year old, who has been playing cricket for almost 24 years, to still come to the crease and perform like as he has. Let us be a bit realistic.

    C) Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan deserve every bit of scrutiny for their actions, I don’t see why we have players who are not part of the whole “corruption” probe. This post sounds more like a rant from a frustrated individual as opposed to a agitated Indian cricket fan.

    The timing of this article is absurd. The Indian cricket team now holds the World Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy, what else do you want from them? Fixing may exist in every sport, we don’t know that but what we know is that the Indian media preys on stories like this to further create hysteria

    When India won the World Cup, we were all Indian. Now that certain elements who are no longer a part of the Indian team are being held for “unsportsmanlike behavior”, you choose to include members of the cricketing world who have nothing to do with this.

    Support your team through hard times, everyone can be a glory-hunter. Where is your pride and passion?

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