Friday, May 31, 2013

With an Air of Resignation, Anger, Hopelessness and.....

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The last thing that seems to be on everyone’s mind is the cricket. Mumbai took home the IPL trophy, but there has been very little talk about that. All the talk has been about BCCI, corruption, spot-fixing, money, resignation and non-resignation. Swift constructive action eliminates rumor, innuendo and speculation. But why should anyone expect it out of the BCCI? What really surprises me the most is that Indians expect other Indians to do what they themselves would never do!
The BCCI is dominated by a rabble of politicians and their campaign contributors. It is a place to trade favors, jockey for influence and sweep dirt under the carpet. Why did politicians get elected to prestigious BCCI posts in the first place? The answer is probably very simple. The membership of state associations is dominated by the rich and powerful. From the erstwhile kings and nawabs that originally sponsored cricket, it moved into the hands of corporate scions that needed to indulge in some pass time with their money. They in turn confer these offices on the politicians who gladly return their favors in other ways. Politicians’ very existence depends on the perception of being powerful, administratively astute and organized. So the quid pro quo serves them very well.
These politicians appoint the judges, bureaucrats and officers to investigative agencies. Given the coalition politics in India, no politician is going to ever piss off another one completely unless he is devoid of all ambition. My theory is that any politician devoid of ambition would never get involved in cricket administration. He or she would be happy being politicians and managing their constituencies and their constituents’ expectations. So a mix of ambitious politicians and their influential, rich and powerful friends runs Indian cricket and now dominates world cricket.
As such any bad news is not good for any of these guys. So sweeping things under the rug is the best solution for all problems. Appointing three member panels with two Tamil Nadu judges to probe a Tamil Nadu industrialist whose son-in-law is in a Tamil Nadu jail reeks of just that - an attempt to sweep things under the rug. Any punishment meted out to Srinivasan will not be in the Dalmiya league. Dalmiya tried to keep out Pawar and got his wings clipped and his very life was made miserable. Srinivasan on the other hand gets a ‘he is an honorable man’ from the MCA president who is a proxy of Sharad Pawar.
Indian culture works such that quid pro quo conversations are probably happening daily to give Srinivasan an honorable exit or at worst a slap on the wrist. A few players will be banned. The most cynical one would say that Asad Rauf will likely be hung out to dry. He is a Pakistani and what better way to fool the Indian public than point the finger at a Pakistani. No one in India will stop watching the IPL or any other cricket game. If cricket descends to being a version of WWF, so be it. Indian fans will not care because they have no other forms of entertainment. Films, politics and cricket are all that binds Indians. Everything else is divisive.
So just as easily as Sanjay Dutt gets a bunch of sympathy votes though he has broken the law and Salman Khan breaks records at the box office despite being a drunk driver who killed someone, Srinivasan and his son-in-law may resurrect themselves because an alternate narrative will emerge sympathetic to their state, that will make enough excuses for enough Indians to start looking the other way or even supporting them because their livelihoods and their election depends on these guys.
And what about the cricket? The BCCI wallahs keep telling us that they are paying the first class cricketers more money than before and that they are spending more money than before on Indian cricket. But clearly, not enough is being spent on developing cricket in India and clearly they are not doing enough to maintain the sanctity of the sport. That’s because you can’t expect the fox to guard the hen-house. A majority of them are in it for themselves.
Cricketers also understand that sport is now a job. And pissing off your boss is the last thing you do to stay employed. Kapil’s humiliation is a classic example of how independent opinions are treated in “democratic” India. In the end, the feudal structures that operated for centuries continue to operate now and have made ethics and morality a convenient choice.
The cricketers are an underclass and those that criticize Dhoni for not speaking out don’t understand that speaking out will serve no purpose. Kumble’s silence makes that clear. So be prepared for a prolonged spell of gloom or simply tune out and find another sport to follow. India will infect every other nation’s cricket, due to its money and emigrant cricketers. And if you are looking for a clean sport, watch something else.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Patent Pending - A solution to fix Spot Fixing

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If the BCCI is serious about the existence of the IPL; we have a solution. A solution that turns fixing on its head.

Our "patent pending" solution for eliminating the evils of fixing, is easy to implement and benefits all...

What is fixing after all?

The way we see "fixing", it is when a bookie influences the outcome of a ball or a match. What if we turn it around? What if we let the players influence the outcome of balls and matches; like it supposed to be; but lets say we also offer the greedy bastards means to make a quick buck in the process?

How does it may ask.

Lets say you are Sachin Tendular.


And you wake up one day and feel that Harbhajan should open the bowling.

Now this is valuable information to bookies.

He (as in Sachin) auctions that decision. Not the actual decision of course but the fact that he has information to share...

With the highest bidder...

Bidders are among a network of BCCI approved, betting franchises.

Everyone's son-in-laws can own one!

Betting houses will pay millions for this kind of information.

Same with a lowly guy like R.P. Singh...Lets say in a team meeting his captain says...Greet Suresh Saina with a bouncer, I don't care if you bowl a wide or a no ball, as long as he is rattled.

Auction that...

Yes Bank, can facilitate secure payments between franchised betting houses and the players accounts.

Players pay a cut to the BCCI for the extra earnings.

The bookie who wins the bid, has presumably paid a lot of money to buy that information and you can be assured that he isn't going to share it with anyone.He simply uses it to set his odds accordingly.

What if the match situation changes and say Sachin decides its not wise to open with Harbhajan.

What then?

Well he can adjust some bandages in his fingers to signal, "The deal is off" and Yes Bank returns to the bookie the bid money.

What better way to preserve the sanctity of sport while allowing underpaid cricketers make a few bucks so that they can feed their wives and children.

What's in it for the bookies?

Guaranteed, cheap, high quality, reliable information without the costly operations...

We have submitted this to the BCCI. They have set up an independent committee to determine if they have received the proposal.

What about the may ask?

This breaks no laws. Bookies are not influencing anything. It can actually be positioned as a "welfare program" for the underpaid cricketers and the BCCI and the Betting houses can get tax exemption from this.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

IPL 6 - A Cynics Review

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Here we offer a complete review of the IPL season 6... 
Let the obscenities begin...
That's how we kicked off our cynical attempts at mocking the IPL (and Sachin). Neither disappointed. Sachin has truly reduced himself to a lovable comic hero and the IPL lived up to its promises of obscenities; although a murder or a drug charge would have really helped its image. Failing that; the scandals we got were juicy enough but pretty much in line with what the world expected the IPL to be.

The new controversies failed to break new ground.

However the promise is there. There is no limit to what one can expect to happen in the IPL a few years from now

CSK admit, they have made a strategic blunder. Its the West Indians and not the Sri Lankans who hurt their sentiments
While it may be true that the Sri Lankans have hurt the sentiments of the good people of the State of Tamil Nadu, West Indian Pollard, playing for the Mumbai Indians plucked a catch off Dhoni at deep mid-wicket to deny CSK a win in the early match up between the 2 sides.

To the immense maturity and restraint of N Srinivasan, he allowed West Indians to continue to visit and play in Tamil Nadu, even when there was conclusive proof that West Indians like Pollard are likely to help their teams win games against Chennai.

Opinions Predicts what Wasim-bhai will not say: Bowlers in the IPL are getting easy wickets because of Sachin
Wasim Akram as the Pakistani bowling coach commented that batsman are getting easy runs because they don't get to face the fearsome Pakistanis. Reality was bowlers were getting easy wickets because of Sachin and by the middle of the tournament they weren't even bothering to celebrate his wicket.

John Mooney clarifies: His 'slow and painful' tweet was meant for Sachin's trudge towards retirement.
John Mooney, the Irish cricketer observed on twitter that Sachin's trudge towards retirement was "slow and painful". The media misunderstood his comments entirely and twisted his words. They linked it to the death of Britan's Iron Lady. They said he was hoping her death was "slow and painful".

Things the media cooks up...

And the IPL meandered on...obsessed with it self and Sachin's 40th birthday. A 40 lb cake cutting ceremony to take the obscenities to the next level.

And then came the main event of the season.

The spot fixing scandal...

Have you heard of an actor charged for cheating because he spoke his lines from a different script?
 To prove that the IPL matches are unscripted games is a stretch. I have nothing against the format. T20 is a great format but the whole IPL setup is fishy. I don't worry too much about the 'conflict of interest' because firstly it is too obvious to be true and secondly there is no proof that that either the IPL or the BCCI have any interest in the game of cricket. 

Given the level of interest in the game across the country, given the existence of illegal betting in India and given how opaque the BCCI is in its operations, one cannot but assume; as extension; that the league is ripe for corruption. 

Many are worried about the "credibility of the IPL". I wouldn't bother. There are many things the IPL has gotten right about the IPL; like not bothering to establish any sort of credibility with its customer base. You can't lose something you never built. And you don't need to build something for the sake of building it, when you know the money will flow in anyhow
There is no onus on the BCCI to clean up anything. Why fix anything that ain't broke. From their perspective, nothing is broken. People still watch the IPL games. I do. Sponsors have not threatened to pull out because they know that you and me will watch anyhow. India's players have already resigned to their roles as entertainers, so they have virtually even less of a voice than I have on Indian cricket. They are trained from a young age to not speak their minds.

The IPL and the BCCI have proven that "credibility" is over rated. 

Of all the fishy things that have been allegedly happening in the IPL; the fishiest smelling is Vivian Richards saying Virat Kohli reminds him of himself. Investigate that I say...
Not for a minute I believe Richards feels that. A country obsessed with seeking validation of its cricketers from foreign greats is in search of the next Sachin. Richards is the new Bradman.

Then the IPL climaxed with the greatest joke of all..

Opinions Breaking News: N. Srinivasan to set up a committee to investigate who won the IPL
I mean how difficult is it to ascertain who is the owner of an asset? Any asset. Is the BCCI franchise operation so vague that to determine the owner of a franchise is not a routine exercise of pulling up the CSK file in a BCCI office and reading out whose name there is on the "owner" line? Why do you need a committee for that? 

And if; and this is a big if; the committee indeed has the freedom to report what is true and it does ascertain the Gurunath is the owner of CSK what is stopping N Srinivasan to propose another committee to investigate the findings of this committee.

I once laughed at the PCB and Ijaz Butt. I owe them an apology. I am sorry. Our guys are just as hilarious as yours. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

BCCI teams up with Google to legalize match-fixing

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If you think BCCI's continued opposition to the DRS; in spite of Sachin Tendulkar benefiting from it;  is exasperating then wait to be exasperated even more...

...Word is that the BCCI is now going all out in opposing the ICC's ACU.

Yes, the Anti Corruption Unit.

"Anti Corruption Technology is not fool proof yet and we believe we should not push for solutions until we have all the right technical elements to prevent corruption" said the BCCI President Shashank Manohar. He further added, "It is BCCI's strategy to address corruption head on in an innovative way".

"We will make match fixing legal" he proclaimed.

Taking a dig at the ICC he said "Unlike the DRS and ACU, our approach has the necessary technology to enable its success", he said introducing Larry Page, CEO of Google Inc.

In a marketing event that had even executives from Apple, sit up and take notice, Shashank Manohar teamed up with Larry Page to unveil Google's new "Fix" Platform.

The "Google Fix", is a never before attempted integration of social networking, sports betting and auction functions, exclusively for bookies, players and gamblers that allows bookies to take bets from gamblers, securely communicate with players to negotiate a "fix" via an auction, and allows gamblers to get real time updates on which fixes are "on" before they make bets with bookies.

"Becoming a bookie, now is no longer just for the privileged few" said Larry Page. "I am told that in India, it is every underworld Don's dream to grow up and influence the outcome of cricket matches. Now, any underworld dude with an internet connection and a few Facebook friends can become a bookie and earn a few bucks. There cannot be a finer example of how technology can empower the common criminal than this" he added as he demonstrated the bookie related functionality of the "Google Fix" platform on the "dabba phone".

Shashank Manohar added, "The beauty of the platform is that it allows players to made additional pocket money. Something that was the purview only a few unethical, greedy and amoral cricketers with links to the shady agents, IPL cheerleaders and the underworld. We recognize that not everyone wants to be Shahid Arfidi. Some may want to follow the ideals of Mohammed Azharuddin or Manoj Prabhakar or even Saleem Malik, and we are simply providing these young men tools and technology needed to follow the dreams of their choice. For such players the "Google Fix" platform allows them to auction a variety of inside information to the highest bidder. What's more, players can also  search and accept 'a fix' if the price is to their liking. The more the number of players who want to guarantee the 'fix', the lesser is the cost of the 'fix' to the bookie. The match fixing economics is going to redefine pricing in the market place like never before".

"We essentially want to make match fixing a commodity service" Mr. Manohar added, sounding like Mr. Manmohan Singh.

During the press conference that followed the marketing event, a reporter asked if this is legal in India. After all gambling is banned in India. Mr. Manohar's response to that was elaborate and he seemed to have anticipated the question.

He went on to explain how match fixing is not gambling and that its a service delivered by players to perform pre-agreed acts. "Its as illegal as Salman Khan removing his shirt on screen. Paying money to see an event everyone knows is going to happen is not illegal. If that's illegal than all of Amitabh Bacchan's drunken scenes are illegal, I say".

He went on to explain how all money transactions will be processed and settled though a payment provider and all income will be reported and taxed.

"Every one will benefit from this", he added.

Finally Larry Page, ended the press conference by saying, "We are committed to Google's culture of "Do no evil" by legalizing all evil that is associated with cricket".

A recent story on match fixing in Sports Illustrated India suggested that India should legalize gambling. By making match fixing it self legal, the BCCI and Google have collaborated to find an innovative way to keep everyone happy.