Dhoni Bindu Dara
Wife of India’s cricket captain often seen with a lead bookie cum Bollywood star

Two years ago, I wrote that India and Pakistan had fixed their world cup cricket match — for billions of dollars through bookies and bribes.

Nobody paid any attention to what I had to say.
Now, a new episode of India’s cricket scandal got exposed during the IPL tournament, and some small investigation got some small cricketers and Bollywood stars arrested for spot fixing. And even though we all know how big cricketers and big Bollywood stars are involved in this mega-billion-dollar betting industry, and how corporate India, politicians and media and law enforcement will soon hush it all up, especially well before the 2014 national elections — to save and protect the ruling class and their lynchpins, we need to revisit how the game of cricket that we had once loved so much has now become a matter of mafia, muscle and money — disgracing our souls and shaming our identities one more time.

Center of cricket power and conflict of interest

Center of power and conflict of interest: board chairman

I thought I should bring back the article I wrote two years ago on a very scandalous episode involving the people in power — both in India and Pakistan. Now, with the meteoric rise of the IPL tournament, the scandal has become global and all the participating countries with their players, officials and politicians have now become suspects.
Would an international low enforcement body investigate this international crime?
You decide.
Sincerely Writing,
Brooklyn, New York
Friday, April 1, 2011

India-Pakistan World Cup Cricket: Fixed?

India-Pakistan World Cup semifinal match: fixed?
FYI. (Please make a note that I’m not doing it because I’m anti-India, anti-Pakistan, or anti-anything. I’m only asking people to think calmly and objectively about the scandals and lies that cheat us and our children; there’s NO difference when it comes to India, Pakistan or any other big power.)
It deeply troubles me, and keeps me awake. Here’s my two cents on this. I hope you do something about it.
Were a billion-plus people (and especially children and youth) cheated by the people in power and their cronies on the field? Was there small or big-time fixing, group politics, gambling, spot-fixing, fancy-fixing, political pressure, personal rewards, threats or intimidation to sway the game and the overall outcome of 2011 World Cup Cricket?
Can we investigate, and prove or disprove the allegations?
I’ve played a lot of cricket in my years, and always kept in touch with it. Here’s my “evidence” to bring a prima facie case with an allegation that the match could well have been fixed.
(1) Pakistan strike bowler Umar Gul’s huge run giveaways in the first few overs; and yet, captain Shahid Afridi gave him the ball in the final overs when he gave away many more runs to give India a respectable total (completely unnecessary: Abdul Razzak who only bowled a couple of overs, was not given the ball, and he looked grim).
And was it true that Afridi refused the final bowling power play, making it even easier for India? (Personally, I’d want to believe that he was a helpless onlooker of group pressure and politics.)
(2) Pathetically slow batting by Pakistan batsmen: it was a pain sitting through watching it (especially by aggressive batsmen like Misbah and Younis), yielding an impossible asking run rate (it went up from 4 or 5 per over in the beginning of their innings to almost 9 in the middle of the innings; and India’s bowling was truly below-average). The way some of the Pak batsmen threw their wickets away was horrible: couldn’t possibly happen in a normal scenario.
(3) Pakistan players’ body language was very suspicious: especially of Umar Gul, Kamran Akmal and Younis Khan; they looked face stiff even from the start of the game. Why?
(4) Pakistan constantly excluded star bowler Shoaib Akhtar even in the India match (who announced retirement after World Cup, expressing “disgust” the way he’s been treated). Maybe, he knew something? Can we ask him?
(5) India played three ordinary pace bowlers especially Munaf and Nehra who bowled miserably; yet, star Pakistani batsmen would not make strokeplays against them.
(6) Pakistani wicketkeeper and other Pak players’ gestures after dropping “Man of the Match” (?) Sachin four or five times were telling (and this wicket keeper is notoriously unscrupulous, many say). Come on, was it Sachin’s Man-of-the-Match game? Why not young Riaz?
(7) Pakistan’s recent political troubles are massive and it extremely needed to mend ties with India by any means; beating India in India would not go well with that fence-mending, and India would also perhaps be thrown in a Shiv Sena type turmoil (SS had already warned of dire consequences of a Pakistan win). ICC or BCCI would not want something that would cut into their profits and reputation (or whatever is left of the reputation). India govt., for that matter, needed something big for a diversion: India’s economic situation is scary, and opposition is gaining ground.The April 3 New York Times article said Sonia Gandhi got what she asked for: diversion from major IPL, Commonwealth and 2G scandals that rocked India.
(8) Pakistani minister’s prior warning to players “not to fix” the India match was ominous. Maybe, it’s time to have an interview with him?
(9) Pakistan’s recent-past wicketkeeper Zulkarnain Haider’s new allegations (and some other individuals’ action including the Lahore court petition to investigate fixing) that the match was set up must be followed on.
All conjectures? Could be. But it’s a question of thinking critically, and finding circumstantial evidence.
I have no doubt that you’d understand the gravity of the situation.
I’d be very happy if after investigation (a real one), it turns out to be all clean.
(Then we’ll talk about the billion-dollar bookies in IPL and T-20, but we’ll save it for now).
Thanks for listening.
Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York

April 1, 2011
(Revised on April 4)