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Cricket, which is nothing less than a religion in the Indian subcontinent, is suddenly being looked upon with contempt and suspicion. Allegations of match fixing against top players has tarnished the reputation of this once disciplined game.
The collapse started in South Africa when cricketing hero and demi-god Hansie Cronje succumbed to the pressure after constantly denying his involvement in any sort of wrong doing. The piling up of more and more evidence against him and several other top players grew on the game like a fungus.
South Africa, hardly a decade since they got back into world cricket after apartheid, was shattered. Newspapers carried sad and disturbing headlines. Traitor! , one paper screamed.
Other nations condemned Cronje's act, but in doing so, made it sure to the media that their players were not involved.
Former Indian all rounder Manoj Prabhakar brought back the ghost of match fixing into Indian cricket. Prabhakar, who was laughed into obscurity only months ago, was now looked upon in fear and anxiety. Soon, he dragged Kapil Dev into the controversy. The present Indian team coach and arguably India’s greatest cricketer, was shattered and broke down in an infamous interview on BBC - and interview which gained him sympathy, yet aroused suspicion.
Experts say that this controversy has deep roots that go deep into the Bombay and Dubai underworld. Everyone agrees that the betting and match throwing controversy was born and nurtured in India.
Now almost everyone is in the eye of this cyclone. With more and more evidence mysteriously coming in, and investigations by the Scotland Yard and The CBI, the game of cricket is not what it used to be.
Players call it the greatest controversy since the 1931 Bodyline series, which saw the English adopt negative yet effective tactics against the Australians, Don Bradman in particular. The rock hard cricket ball was bowled at the players rather than the stumps.
We can all do nothing, but wait and see. With more and more legends being dragged into this quicksand of betting and corruption, I can only hope my idols are not involved in this horrendous scandal.