ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 43

Time to clean up the act

The untimely death of former England cricketer and the present (unto his demise) Pakistani coach Bob Woolmer has put an irreversible minus on world cricket and its machinery. This was a time bomb that was ignited by the Indian sub continent cricket, waiting to explode one day since it became the money basket of the World of Cricket. Ironically it had to take place during the hype of a World Cup in another continent.

The hierarchy of Pakistani cricket always has been shrouded with controversy and petty spats. In spite of the Pakistani cricket being under the watchful eye and rule of the incumbent governments over the years, dumping of coaches and inglorious exits of their cricket high ups has been more or less the order of the day. However it’s a shame that the little that they knew that every move of theirs in the wrong direction took off a vee -bit of the sheen from their natural talent in the game. Besides the short hard-nosed rule by Imran Khan who brought home the World Cup the Pakistani cricket has been good, but, on a roller-coaster type of success. One day they are at the top of world beating the hot favourites at that time and then in the next moment they are down in the dumps beaten by an ordinary side.

Rampant Betting
Just prior to the World Cup there were news items appearing on how the authorities were going to handle the rampant betting that was going to explode in the country? Then in the aftermath of the demise of Woolmer former Pakistani opening bowler Sarfraz Nawaz came out with another theory according to news stories. It read “A report in a leading daily quotes former Pakistani fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz saying that certain top players in the team were involved in fixing the matches against the West Indies and Ireland. “The theory going around in West Indies police circles is that Woolmer might have been killed by those who wanted to silence him on the issue of match-fixing,” he claimed.

A former PCB official who requested anonymity said Woolmer’s book, Discovering Cricket, which he was writing, could have exposed the cricketer-bookie nexus in Pakistan, India, and South Africa.

The official claimed that Woolmer met Delhi police officers during Pakistan’s 2005 tour of India to gather material for the book. Nawaz said Woolmer had finished more than 50 per cent of the book.

The India match fixing allegations have dumped several cricketers and the most prominent among them being the former national captain Mohammed Azharuddin. At the same time even the bookies play a very destructive part from behind the curtains in Indian cricket. Then cricket heavyweight Jagmohan Dalmiya was also floored on corruption charges. Another issue that took the cricket world by storm was that back biting in the Indian hierarchy that almost brought an end to the career of former skipper Sourav Ganguly who has now almost become the national mascot in Indian cricket in the West Indies.

Whims and Fancies
In Sri Lanka too similar developments almost bludgeoned the inning of Sanath Jayasuriya abruptly, till sanity prevailed. However besides moving the pawns to the whims and fancies of certain given individuals Sri Lanka Cricket has been trotting along with more questions asked than solutions found.

At the same time there are other skeletons in the cupboard. People in the know are sufficiently prudent about how the elections for the hot seats in the cricket administrations are conducted and the wheeler dealings that take place behind the curtains. “Money talks” has almost become the pass word in cricket administration in this talented little island..

Once in an interview on the run up to the 1996 World Cup win, former skipper Arjuna Ranatunga lamented “There are those who have money and these people entertain the cricketers and sow the seeds of discontent”. And Duleep Mendis the present CEO was not a very happy man when he spoke about the events that took place during the1987 World Cup. Duleep said “I think the 1987 World Cup is one of the worst events that we went through, the team was in shatters, the team spirit was not there”. What brought forth these comments from two former national captains on two different back grounds depict even prior to winning the World Cup in 1996, there were distractions coming towards the cricketers.

Quite Wealthy
Then we also hear about people who barter vital votes for personal gain, and about some others who have grown quite wealthy just by working for the cause of cricket. The irony is that these very people grow from strength to strength under any regime that is in power.

Besides the above recently the SLC CEO made a complaint to the police about an alleged forging of his signature by some unscrupulous officials for some underhand dealings. However the outcome of that investigation is yet to be known. The misdeeds that have taken place within these hallowed halls of local cricket can go on and on. Some people may say ‘yes’ and some others may say ‘no’, but deep inside they all know what the truth is. However some day these very facts will start pouring out emanating an unbreathable stench.

The question is are we going wait for the truth to come out and start emanating that uncontrollable stench or are we going to start throwing out those bad eggs out of the basket from this point onwards?.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.