The talk’s everywhere you go: in office cubicles, at the bars, in classrooms, and at the pavilions at the grounds. The cricket-watching public is thinking aloud. It is trying to tell you what it has suspected for long: that all’s not well with the beautiful game.
Even the World Cup final — the greatest theatre of cricket —isn’t above doubt. While Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli were engineering the triumph of a lifetime at the Wankhede Stadium, our mobile phones were inundated with messages about bookmakers who’d already declared India the victors. Our stomachs churned. Our minds wondered how much of this nonsense was true. Will we ever know?
In the first ever Yahoo! Cricket IPL Perception Survey, 68.9% of our readers said they believed there is spot fixing or/and match-fixing happening in the IPL. In the follow-up question, 57.3% readers said they believed that Indian players are involved in wrong-doing in the IPL.
We must admit that 68.9 is a number greatly influenced by the zeitgeist. Had we asked this question around the time three Pakistani players were caught in a spot-fixing scandal, perhaps the percentage of people saying ‘yes’ would have been closer to 100. At another time — say, during the largely controversy-free IPL 2011 — the numbers could have been much smaller.
Regardless of these percentages, what sticks out is the unwavering scepticism of the cricket-watching public. There is a constant undercurrent that all’s not what it seems.
It’s been over three weeks since a news channel went live with video footage of four Indian cricketers offering to be morally flexible in exchange for cash. Two of them are shown offering to fix spots.
The BCCI had set a 15-day deadline to probe the allegations against these cricketers. As of June 10, we’re 10 days past the deadline. Just as when the Cronje scandal broke out 12 years ago, the official reaction from the BCCI and the IPL has been an attempt to deny any wrong-doing. No wonder then that the damage to Brand IPL has been done.
More 66% of our surveyed readers said IPL players have been getting payments ‘under-the-table’, something which the IPL administrators have routinely denied. Also, nearly 80% believed our millionaire cricketers are being paid more than they deserve in the IPL.
We wouldn’t argue against the demand-and-supply mechanisms that cause cricketers to be paid handsomely in the IPL. But we would argue that public opinion reflects poorly upon the IPL. There’s no remedy to this except for being transparent: in the framing of tournament rules, in payments to players, in team ownership stakes, and above all, in respectfully treating the biggest stakeholder in the game: the fan. Cheat him at your own peril.
All survey reports:
- Shastri voted best commentator, Sidhu gets lowest ratings
- Majority believe illegal activities happening in the IPL
- Thumbs down for BCCI officials owning IPL teams
- Make the IPL shorter
- Survey results