It is becoming almost impossible to make sense of a cricket world, which gets mired in one controversy or the other with each passing day. The ghost of match-fixing, which we all thought had been laid to rest, is threatening to spread its tentacles again, loosening the vicious grip that the murky world of IPL has had on us.
Cricket is not the only sport that is making more news off the field. In India, officials controlling Olympic sports, who are not willing to concede even an inch in their fight to remain bosses, are displaying great histrionics. That this fight is a battle for survival for those who are making a living out of it, was made clear to me in a TV debate which got uglier by the minute. Vicious and even slanderous accusations were hurled at those who are fighting for the system to get more transparent and accountable.
To fight the onslaught of those who have survived for decades by manipulating the nuts and bolts of a system in decay may require either divine inspiration or mulish courage, if the battle has to be won.
The mind may go numb and the body paralytic if one goes on thinking about such issues.
This is that time of the year when one yearns to watch a keen skillful sporting duel and not a war of words, while holding in one’s hand a glass of beer, chilled to the bone. Mercifully, there are going to be many such beautiful moments to savour once World Cup football begins. But even before that happens, I am following the fortunes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the French Open with the eagerness of a child looking forward to his school being shut for the holidays.
The near-masterly exhibition of flowing, uninhibited tennis, which they displayed in the Madrid Open final, has been a strong stimulus to desire for more. Nadal seems to have got over his fitness problems and was once again running like a hound and unleashing his powerful wristy forehand winners from impossible angles. Federer tried his best to counter this superhuman dynamo with strokes, which combined daring with perfection, but even then he could not penetrate Nadal’s defences.
The best of three-set battle was too brief for one to feel drained in the ecstasy of having watched sporting skill being raised to god-like perfection.
The French Open final, now just a week away, could provide us with that combative spectacle when time gets frozen and the moment becomes an end in itself, where there is no life before or after it.