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Innocence lost for the game, again

The news that one of the players tried to bribe his way into the Indian A team may evoke reactions of revulsion, horror and even flat denials.

india Updated: Nov 24, 2003 12:26 IST

The news that one of the players tried to bribe his way into the Indian A team may evoke reactions of revulsion, horror and even flat denials from the cricket establishment but the question to be asked is: has anything changed from the days of match-fixing?

The answer, in all honesty, has to be a resounding no. The entire cricketing fraternity at that time reacted in self-righteous disgust at anyone even daring to think that corruption could be rife in their innocent world. As things unfolded, despite the best efforts of the establishment, it was found out that not just one player, but almost all the top players of the world could have been on the pay roles of the bookies.

And on Thursday, the Indian Board went into hibernation, once NDTV broke the news that two selectors have told Board officials that they were offered bribe by a player to select him in the team. It is obvious that they have been caught off guard and one hopes they, like in the past, are not busy trying to find a way out to suppress the truth.

We need transparent answers and a transparent probe into the whole affair. Hiding anything does not help, it only lends more credence to rumour-mongering which is more detrimental than the reality itself.

We have heard stories of brand rivalries affecting selection. We have heard stories that corporate and political pressure gets a player into the team. One needs to look carefully into the selection of the Delhi Ranji team to realise that anything is possible in Indian cricket.

Just imagine, that on the one hand the Indian Board is fighting a legal battle against Ajay Jadeja being given reprieve by the courts for his alleged involvement in match-fixing, and on the other hand one of its own units — Delhi — welcomes him with open arms and finds nothing wrong in selecting him in the team.

Need one say more?

First Published: Nov 21, 2003 01:29 IST