Columns - 5th column

Playing a brazen double game

By Rypvanwinkle

"Thaaththa," Bindu Udagedera asked, "what is happening to all the cricketers in Pakistan?"
"Well," Bindu's father Percy said, "they are doing rather well, aren't they?"
"Why do you say that?" Bindu was puzzled.
"Why," Percy asked, "even though they haven't been playing cricket in their own country because of security threats, they managed to beat Sri Lanka recently, didn't they?"
"No, thaaththa," Bindu said, "I am referring to the Pakistani cricketers who have been given jail sentences in England."

"Ah, well," Percy said, "that is indeed a difficult situation for them but then, they have been found guilty of taking money in return for not performing at their best, haven't they?"
"That is true," Bindu conceded, "although sometimes I wish all this happened in Sri Lanka."
"What do you mean by that, Bindu?" Percy was startled. "Do you mean it would have been better if the Sri Lankan cricketers were found guilty of match-fixing?"
"No, of course not," Bindu declared, "but if in fact Sri Lankan cricketers were charged with match-fixing, the results could have been very different."
"Why do you say that?" Percy was puzzled.

"Well to begin with," Bindu said, "the Police might raid the homes of the cricketers to find evidence of match fixing."
"If there was a suspicion that they were involved in match-fixing, there is nothing wrong with that," Percy argued.
"That is true, thaaththa," Bindu said, "but the very next day the cricketers might find the Commander-in-Chief himself paying them a visit at home, patting them on the back and consoling them."
"I suppose that could happen too," Percy said, "but surely, the investigations would continue and further evidence will be obtained."
"Yes, of course," Bindu said, "and we might even find others coming forward to give evidence saying that they saw the players getting involved in match-fixing."
"What would happen then?" Percy was curious.
"Now, if that happened in Sri Lanka," Bindu proposed, "a government spokesman of some sort, even if he is not remotely connected with the investigations will make an announcement."
"And what will he say?" Percy was puzzled.

"Why, thaaththa," Bindu said, "he will of course say that the cricketers concerned are not suspects in the case,"
"And what will happen next?" Percy wanted to know.
"Well, let us suppose the cricketers were injured while playing a game," Bindu suggested.
"Then they would have to be treated in hospital, of course," Percy declared.
"Yes, they would," Bindu agreed, "and not only would they be treated, they would be guarded around the clock and they would also be visited by the high and mighty at hospital."
"But, Bindu," Percy protested, "there is nothing wrong in visiting an injured player in hospital."
"Yes, of course, thaaththa," Bindu observed, "especially when it has already been announced that they are not suspects in match-fixing."

"So, what will happen thereafter?" Percy wanted to know.
"Why, thaaththa," Bindu said, "even if the match-fixing allegations are being investigated, we might suddenly wake up one day to be told that the injured cricketers have been flown overseas for specialist treatment amidst tight security."
"Well," Percy said, "if they do need treatment, it is difficult to find fault with that either."
"I suppose you could say that," Bindu conceded.
"But Bindu," Percy argued, "what if the trial against the cricketers does proceed as planned and they are found guilty?"
"Ah, that is not a problem at all," Bindu replied.
"How can you say that?" Percy wanted to know, "they would have to go to jail once they are found guilty, wouldn't they?"
"Yes, they could," Bindu said, "but they can appeal to the higher courts and then even to the Supreme Court,"

"But what would happen if the Supreme Court finally finds them guilty?" Percy inquired.
"Ah, that is not a problem at all, thaaththa," Bindu was not worried.
"Why do you say that?" Percy asked, "surely they would have to be punished thereafter."
"Not if all this happens in Sri Lanka, thaaththa," Bindu pointed out.
"How could you say that?" Percy was puzzled.
"Why thaaththa, all the cricketers have to do is to agree to support the correct people and they will then be granted a special pardon by those who have the authority to do so."
"And will that be the end of the story?" Percy asked.
"Well," Bindu said, "in fact, the story may not end there."
"What makes you say that, Bindu?" Percy wondered.

"If all this happens in Sri Lanka, thaaththa," Bindu declared, "they might then launch an inquiry into the judge who heard the case saying that some of his decisions don't seem to be right."
"And what will happen then, Bindu?" Percy was curious.
"I am not so sure about that, thaaththa," Bindu said, "we will have to wait and see."
Percy did not argue with that.

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