Some Pakistani cricketers (was it three? seven? all of them?) were accused in the English media of ‘spot-fixing’. Amidst all the speculation about whether the ODI series against [England] would happen at all, whether these people would play in that series, or play for Pakistan at all, whether they would face more action than that and so forth, there were some noises in the Pakistani administrative camp about this being not so serious a matter, or being baseless allegations.
An ex-girlfriend of Mohammed Asif has thrown a spanner in the works. She’s claimed, and handed over what she says is proof, that Asif has fixed matches (or ‘spots’ or whatever else gets fixed these days) in the past, even bargaining over better rates for his services. She also claims that all this was known to the administration and they did nothing about it. That, to me, is damnable.
Why she has recordings of Asif haggling with some bookie over rates is perhaps something that we will never be able to answer. Just out of idle curiosity, though, I’d like to know what Asif did to this woman for her to throw a grenade at him when he’s already facing a firing squad.
The talking heads on TV were all talking about this, yesterday, as is every newspaper in circulation. A London-based football-club owner has been arrested on charges of ‘spot-fixing’ (that’s the bastard step-sibling of ‘match-fixing’, if you didn’t know). I’ll let you read the story for yourself (watch the story, more like… the whole thing’s been caught on camera), and only say the following.
I’m not particularly into patriotism, or nationalism, or sports for that matter. But when there are millions (about 1.2 million families and 17 million people, is the current estimate) of people in your country who’ve been displaced by natural disaster, your government is fighting to keep the Taliban out of the North-West, and in spite of the average income in your country being worth less than dog food, you are put up in the Marriot at London, and asked to do your best on the playing field…
… And you go ahead and take money to throw matches, you deserve to be, dare I say it, beaten up. If these allegations are proven even remotely true, of course (and I don’t see how they could not be), I’m afraid this isn’t too hard to imagine at all. Cricketers’ houses have been ransacked in Pakistan, and people beaten up, for much smaller offences.
India played Sri Lanka in a dress rehearsal of the Asia cup final, two days ago. Okay, maybe ‘played’ is an overstatement… India attempted to play Sri Lanka two days ago. And failed. Badly. Some of us were of the opinion that the Indian team can only truly play cricket against Pakistan. A few of us, however, were more optimistic. We thought this might be a strategy to lull Lanka into a false sense of being, you know, better.
Well, whaddayaknow! It turns out it was a strategy. India are currently handing Sri Lanka a veritable beatdown (At the time of this writing, Sri Lanka are 56/5 after 19 overs chasing 269). So, bravo, Gary Kirsten, and bravo, MS Dhoni. Strategy well-conceived. Strategy perfectly executed.
1) There’s this place just outside IITM, called Ascendas, which houses many IT offices and has a half decent food-court; it’s become quite the haunt for bored IITians who’d eat anything other than mess food. About a year ago, Ascendas started requiring people to deposit valid ID cards, collect badges from a counter and produce these badges for entry into the compound. To the complete bafflement and pique of everybody concerned. What the heck is the point of collecting IDs? Is somebody who is really up to trouble going to forget to create a false ID? If they do, are they going to not create trouble because you caught them without their IDs? ‘Oh, right, I have this suitcase with a bomb in it, but I’m not going to blow up your nice building here because I’ve forgotten my ID’?
It gets worse. The idiots collecting ID cards and handing out badges will accept more than one ID of the same person. ‘Here, Sir, we’re ten people who’ve come here to cause mayhem (but we’re not really telling you), and you can let us in because we have these ten ID cards of a Mr. Aviral Roy. He’s not here, but I’m sure he doesn’t mind that you’re letting us in on his ID’. The stupid. It burns.
2) I happened to watch the India-Pakistan match yesterday. Holy crap! How is it that the insipid Indian cricket team that lost to Zimbabwe, twice, managed to pull this match off? And it wasn’t India’s usual one-man effort, either. Everybody played a part. I saw Suresh Raina jump ten feet to try and avoid getting run out when he must have known it was improbable that he would make it. I saw Harbhajan and Shoaib Akhtar taunt each other in Punjabi. Well, OK, Harbhajan taunts everybody in Punjabi, so maybe this one isn’t that different from usual; this was a different Indian team to the one that played Zimbabwe not two weeks ago.