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21 March 2007

It's not cricket

Cricket has always been known as a gentleman’s game. Unlike its boisterous counterpart football or elitist golf or even tennis. So much so that the phrase, It's not cricket, came to denote anything that is not fairplay. And who does not know of Don Bradman who personified everything good and great about the game.

I do not know about the world teams and I definitely don't wish to comment on the sub-continent teams. But in India, over last many years, the media has clearly brought out the fact that the betting "industry" is almost as vast as that of the defence budget of the country. Match fixing and ball tampering is open knowledge and yet the game is patronised by common citizens and business and HOW!

Coach Woolmer was poisoned and killed. Time and investigations will bring it out or bury it as it may be. But it is a fact that the circumstances are mysterious. In such a case, instead of a two minute silence and on with the game, what really should have happened and been done is declare the world cup null and void- or whatever it is. Like a mistrial.

Continue the matches, so that the people who bought tickets and administration is not thrown out of jeopardy.But no prize, no money and definitely no cup. This should be part of the International Sports Rule or some such law that makes it binding on all participants. Even smaller mid- afternoon and print quizzes have disclaimers.

Cricket is not show biz. There is no need for show must go on. The show part of the game can go on but the soul of the game cannot be held to ransom. This world cup- Coach Woolmer, next world cup- who?

This to my mind is the ONLY way to clean up the game and ensure that it doesn't happen again.

What about all the money riding on the game? Well, too bad. Economics and Ethics, the eternal debate. Till such time, we should refrain from giving sound bites on cock fighting being illegal and bull fighting being gory.

Murder of a coach- it's a crime.

Getting on with the game as if it is unfortunate incident - it’s just not cricket.

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