Welcome to the Indian Paisa League

Published May 20, 2013 10:25am

enter image description hereAs a cricketer, money and fame may come easy to you in India today. But, notoriety may not be far behind as fast-bowler Sreesanth and two of his team-mates from Rajasthan Royals learnt last week.

Arrested and charged with accepting bribes, Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were offered between Rs. 40 lakh and Rs. 60 lakh to give away a pre-fixed number of runs in a given over. At least 11 bookies and middlemen have also been arrested in the case.

Sreesanth was only getting Rs. 2.2 crore for a seven week contract to play the Indian Premier League (IPL). But he appears to have been willing to risk his career, future and reputation for much less.

In India, the legal process is often long and cumbersome and there’s many a slip between being arrested and convicted. Whatever happens to those charged, the simple fact is that the IPL and cricket in India stands tarnished.

Little cricket and much more entertainment, IPL is designed to attract money, more money and even more money. Its lusty hitting arranged to suit television and advertising schedules, with a lot of money for players.

And, just as everyone thought that the Chris Gayle innings might have been the highlight of this edition of the IPL, the cash-for-runs scam broke. There’s every indication that it will remain the defining moment of the IPL.

But what about the context in which these things happen?

In India, many trot out the explanation that “underpaid and overworked” police personnel are corrupt only because wages are low and they have to put in long hours.

Clearly, that logic doesn’t apply to the charges against Sreesanth and his friends. They can’t take the line that I-am-poor-so-I-accept-bribes line.

The fact is that corruption is central to the workings of the Indian system. Whether it is policemen, municipal officials, politicians, senior bureaucrats – everything operates according to a parallel system that thwarts the functioning of the real system.

Many young cricketers come from small town India. If they make a mark in the game, the first thing they find are corporate sponsors lining up to use them for cold drinks, chips, cars and whatever else they can get them to endorse.

The money is excellent and the inducements are real. So, a young, impressionable cricketer soon receives a lot of money and attention if he does well in his career.

The IPL, needless to say, has multiplied these opportunities. A young lad from poor or lower middle class family can make more money from IPL today than many cricketers might have made in their careers yesterday.

They are also transported into a heady party scene. Power brokers, senior cricketers, young women, alcohol – all this and more are “available” at the IPL.

It’s in this culture that bookies and middlemen thrive and can contact players easily. While Sreesanth and Co. must get their day in court, the context in which all this wheeling-dealing goes on is important to understand.

Last week, well-known sports writer Sharda Ugra pointed to the sexist culture the IPL was encouraging at a time when India is dealing with rising and horrible instances of crimes against women.

Let’s not have the IPL at all if this is the kind of sexist culture it generates.

Returning to the larger issue, it’s time that law enforcement authorities send out a strong signal to the cricketing community, bookies and middlemen.

There must be penal consequences for match-fixing, spot-fixing and whatever other “fixing” these people indulge in – a policy of zero tolerance.


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Amit Baruah is an independent, Delhi-based journalist. He is the author of Dateline Islamabad and reported for The Hindu newspaper from Pakistan. He tweets @abaruah64.


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments (68) Closed


Mark
May 20, 2013 10:41am

This sounds like a very obscurantist view...

John
May 20, 2013 10:42am

Of course it is all about money. And you thought that Pakistan, Bangladesh, SriLanka etc. were running after Cricket when creating their own leagues. How novice you could be?

Srihari
May 20, 2013 11:04am

For a change, I completely agree with Amit Baruah. Penal action against fixers has to happen immediately. IPL should be scrapped and the focus should be on Test Cricket, which is the real cricket. I guess we have to focus a lot on educating our kids on moral science right from primary school. This will surely help in increasing number of clean politicians, sportsmen, people who respect women, people who value others rights etc. We should focus on the Kindergarten kids to see a better India in 15 years from now. Hopefully, the older generations will get to learn from the kids in the future.

lalu
May 20, 2013 12:37pm

Paisa bolta hai babu...........

sanjay mittal
May 20, 2013 01:02pm

The IPL is all about entertainement and fun. Much like Hindi masala films. Sreesanth has provided another dimension of a Bollywood film-- the villian.

In the end there will be a filmy happy ending. The good guys will win. period.

Why damn something which also entertains crores and crores. We need to make it better and corruption free. That is it.

Parror
May 20, 2013 02:10pm

Another connotation of IPL, I heard, is Indian Problem League.

Rai
May 20, 2013 02:22pm

Corruption is central to the Indian system, period. It is not IPL which is the problem. It is the the ubiquitous culture that sets the bar so low on what is considered cheating. Where else in the world will you see a sports cheat voted by people to become member of parliament? I am quite optimistic about IPL actually. Instances like this one may end up ramming home the lesson in young minds that regardless of the money, power or prestige involved, cheating is unacceptable and will be punished. Whatever their other faults, at least the IPL administrators and franchise owners seem to be upholding rules of the game.

Zaheer Ahmed
May 20, 2013 03:05pm

Very aptly described by Amit. IPL is doing more of a dis-service to the game of cricket which was a game of gentlemen once.

ashraf
May 20, 2013 03:35pm

paisa is much better than killing cricketers. Cricket as we know ended in Pakistan the day Srilankan team was attacked, now its a classic case of sour grapes for the writer

Rashid Sultan
May 20, 2013 03:38pm

Surely, Pakistani players should be welcome?

dav
May 20, 2013 04:19pm

please provide the e-mail address of this writter as well so that we can appraise him directly too. thanks.

Mukesh
May 20, 2013 04:28pm

In countries where there is corruption in every step, be it politics, government or police - it will be like living in a dream world if someone thinks that sports, specially cricket will be corruption free.

But again it does not mean that everyone is corrupt or the whole cricket team is corrupt.

The solution lies with first accepting that there is a problem and then keep working towards finding and punishing corrupt people.

Prashant
May 20, 2013 05:21pm

Shrisnat acused in Spot Fixing....!!! He is banned for Life from Cricket.. !!! All records erased...!!! Everyone is asking for Ban on IPL.....!!! Hmmm

Top Ministers found Guilty in Millions of Dollars Fraud...!!! No one is banning them for Life from Politics....!!! No one is asking for Ban on Political Parties....!!!

Sanjay Dutt found Guilty in 250 peoples Death...!!! He is not banned from Bollywood...!!! No one is asking a Ban on Bollywood.....!!!

Hypocrite..aren't we ??

Arvind Madhvan
May 20, 2013 08:08pm

So,what are you crying about this time.Should cricket stop because some are corrupt?

Khan
May 20, 2013 09:29pm

Wow excellent review and no doubt that strict action is need of the hour..lets wait how law enforcement agencies go against these actors of cricket.

CHAITANNYA MAHATME
May 20, 2013 10:21pm

This article is so biased, "(In India) ...corruption is central to the workings of the Indian system.... " Are things better in US or Pakistan. There are corrupt people everywhere. A nation's integrity cannot cannot be questioned for corrupt practices of few individuals. Also with this statement you are undermining the efforts of honest and upright people (However few they might be) who have stood against the corrupt system.

Sir it is very easy to blame people, but extremely difficult to tread the path of strong values and ethics. With this article you have yourself made a point that you are corrupted by the system and cannot write a simple honest and unbiased article.

Rik
May 21, 2013 01:15am

Dude, Cricket has been excellent this season in IPL - there is not double about that at all. Even person as great as cyclist Lance Armstrong got into corruption - once dubbed as the best athlete ever born. So, shit happens, the important thing is how do we deal about it?

Ian Brother
May 21, 2013 01:22am

Well said Amit. It is a huge challenge for all to curb the crime let alone stop it and that's precisely because of - what you nicely put - a big pay day. There is a sucker born everyday and the bookies appear to have no problem finding them.

baig
May 21, 2013 01:25am

@Rashid Sultan: definetly not..dont deserve to come to india ..the scum lot

bhujang patil
May 21, 2013 02:47am

Is it not a good idea to legalize the business of sport betting? Some EU nations have already done it, and their govt is making millions from it.

In India, state owned but-not-doing-so-well enterprises (e.g. Post Office) can be involved, and be benefited greatly.

Sumant Bhalla
May 21, 2013 03:31am

It's quite amusing that a country where the President is nicknamed Mr.10% is complaining about corruption in India. Pakistan would sacrifice anything to have a League like IPL. Warts and all. Unfortunately, not one International cricketer will play in Pakistan for any amount of money - except maybe members of the Somali national Team.

MP Singh
May 21, 2013 03:32am

Amit Baruah has correctly described the situation created by IPL in India. Most of the comments offered here give an impression that they are also like Sreesanth, believe in corruption and doing anything to get rich fast. Politicians are corrupt that is one thing; a cricketer is corrupt, that vitiates the sanctity of the game. Cricketers get so much money, they do not have to be corrupt like this. When such people offer comments in foreign newspapers, they should hide their reality for a moment.

deep
May 21, 2013 03:55am

For sure these culprits will be punished to retain viewership. It is a matter of common sense that every stake holder- cricketers, team owners, sponsors and even Govt makes good money, so why would they risk eroding viewership base ?????? I am glad they are caught and hopefully they are punished. IPL has lost some of its sheen but it will glitter again much to dismay of its detrators inside and outside India. But authorities must act and punish culprits.

Guru
May 21, 2013 04:12am

Why is Dawn news paper taking special interest in publishing the fixing incident in IPL when it never bothered to report about IPL matches?. Does Dawn feel reporting on less important than reporting about fixing scams or does it get Sadistic pleasure in reporting only the bad deeds?

pakone
May 21, 2013 05:09am

IPL was always a farce. It not only damaged the integrity of a gentleman's game, it also took a massive toll on players physical and mental abilities to perform for their national teams due to the hunger for multi-million dollar contracts. If people like Sreesanth can be bought - who's next? Tendulkar? Kohli? This was just a show of sixes, item song dancing girls and fireworks. Nothing else. It had least to do with cricket.

hanifsmile
May 21, 2013 06:03am

@Prashant: were your opinion same when three Pakistanis were convicted of Spot Fixing??? you guys have double standard

hanifsmile
May 21, 2013 06:02am

@Arvind Madhvan: were your opinion same when three Pakistanis were convicted of Spot Fixing??? you guys have double standard

hanifsmile
May 21, 2013 06:05am

@Mark: were your opinion same when three Pakistanis were convicted of Spot Fixing??? you guys have double standard

CHAITANNYA MAHATME
May 21, 2013 07:36am

@Rai: Dude you have such myopic vision... There is corruption of much bigger proportion in developed countries. This means you are not aware of what's happening around you.

Riaz Murtaza
May 21, 2013 07:45am

I have changed my mind. I am no more interested in watching IPL cricket matches. Who knows which match was fixed ! Indian players have brought shame but nothing else. Indian media and most of the Indians used to boast about their being clean in games but not now. It is over. And I foresee bigger fish to be caught in the near future.

Sikander
May 21, 2013 08:57am

Do not forget India Police...................Delhi Police deserves a big applause for this great job.

JayK Raman
May 21, 2013 09:00am

I agree. unfortunately corruption has become the rule not the exception. Even journalists are ready to be bought. Also these players are small fish. Go for the big fish who I am told is based in Dubai

MAK
May 21, 2013 09:00am

@ashraf: The writer (Amit Baruah) is based in Delhi. How is it sour grapes for him? Did you check the writer's credentials before posting your comment?

ahmed
May 21, 2013 09:44am

@ashraf: by the way, the writer is an INDIAN not Pakistani and his article is based upon facts rather than criticizing the nations

Milind
May 21, 2013 09:56am

@Arvind Madhvan: Absolutely.. Cricket has been overhyped and folks have been addicted to it. Let's stop this nonsense. We can focus on other games, which require more talent, skills, hard work. IPL is the bazarooo version of cricket and can be banned. Play cricket more for cricket's sake than money.

Milind
May 21, 2013 09:58am

@Prashant: Not at all. Political parties are an inconvenient necessity and we need to hang around with these until a better option comes across. IPL and Bollywood are totally useless, crass, commercial/bazaroo, serve no purpose. Except for a stray 'Taare Zamin par' in recent times, these serve no social causes. The folks in these industries are folks of straw but the hype makes them larger-than-life characters and the real heroes in life remain ignored. Ban IPL and Bollywood. Play cricket or make movies for cricket's/movies' sake, where no dalals/underworld rule roost.. Regional films (Marathi, Bengali etc.) show the way.

Anoop
May 21, 2013 01:48pm

If money is a bad word, I hope the Author will willingly give up all of it to some charity.

Money is a good thing, a great thing. Money making enterprises are even better!

IPL is not only a money making enterprises, it also generates a LOT of jobs. Not only that it is watched by millions for entertainment purposes, unless even entertainment is considered a bad thing.

There'll be idiots trying to make a quick buck, bend a few rules, but that means the system should be improved, not scrapped altogether.

Bollywood too has its share of influences from the Underworld, but its regressive to talk against it. Same with IPL.

Criticizing is very easy indeed, but to have a perspective is very hard.

haris
May 21, 2013 02:26pm

India has become hotbed for the Bookies in the Cricketing World. Every case, whether its match-fixing, spot-fixing, tanking etc either by players or match officials, leads to someone in India. This gamblers' bantustan should be blown out completely. The standard and reputation of Cricket is being tarnished regularly. It felt like Cricket and Fixing are becoming synonyms. Indian government and sporting authorities should take it more seriously because it is damaging the Sport on whole.

Dr. Mazhar
May 21, 2013 02:47pm

IPL is an entertainment that has become industry in India with huge economic benefits for millions of people, This should not be banned. Although, for sports point of view it is killing beauty of real cricket game.

Corneretigers
May 21, 2013 03:44pm

follow the money it leads to the criminal! where ever there is money, there's corruption...

Dr. Mazhar
May 21, 2013 04:33pm

IPL is an entertainment that has become industry in India with huge economic benefits for millions of people, This should not be banned. Although, for sports point of view it is killing beauty of real cricket game.

Dinesh
May 21, 2013 04:49pm

This article is more like treating the symptom more than the disease. Bookies have pervaded every sport & even assuming that IPL is scrapped, are we so naieve to think that bookies can't spot fix ODIs and Test matches? Banning IPL or T-20 for that matter is not the solution - sprucing up a vigilante mechanism to curb this menace is.

NIVEDITA MISHRA
May 21, 2013 07:07pm

Amit, agreed there are many loopholes in the manner in which IPl and BCCI function, but you article makes an excuse for the cricketers. Not on.

Ammar
May 21, 2013 07:21pm

"The fact is that corruption is central to the workings of the Indian system" the fact is seconded by the history that ancient Hindu poems like the Gambler's Lament and the Mahabharata testify to the popularity of gambling among ancient Indians.

Advice to Indians: Just don't try wipe out this Indian bookie culture with counter allegation of corruption (or 'same as you type comments), just give it a solid shot of acceptance.

ben
May 21, 2013 07:27pm

BCCI is the most richest cricket board in the world. They even interfere in ICC. BCCI contains richest politicians, actors and actresses, rich industrialists who invest for them. Cricket is a business for BCCI. Their hands are so long that every person who is against them will be bribed and bought including law. IPL is not banned by the Supreme Court even after the players themselves admitting for spot fixing. BCCI members should be banned from entering into ICC as they bring politics and cricket should be banned in India.Everyone should not forget about issue of sivaramakrishnan.

Akif
May 21, 2013 08:07pm

@ashraf: wow, what a vision you have. The write is based in Delhi not Lahore/Karachi. Amazingly ignorant.

Khizr
May 21, 2013 09:42pm

There is no reason to bash IPL for corruption / Match fixing / spot fixing by a few players. IPL promotes cricket, creates a huge cricketing economy and that is all positive. IPL does hurt international cricket due to its long season and almost all teams are waiting for IPL to be over so that they can go on with their international commitments. The format or schedule should be changed to reduce it to a 2 week tournaments, if possible. Or, international cricket should continue during IPL time.

Ali
May 21, 2013 10:27pm

@ashraf: First of all, you do not pocket the money nor do the masses of the poor. Second, what does Pakistan has to do with this-leave the obsession with Pakistan and focus on you own country. Third, money is not that important. Fourth you need to come visit Pakistan the rich are rich and the poor are poor as in India. All the best and peace to all

raja hindustani
May 21, 2013 11:06pm

Lets make betting legal in India. This is the way we can stop millions of black-money flowing in-out from hawala. Additionally, there will be revenue generation for Indian Tax department.

pakistani
May 22, 2013 12:01am

No comments

MIckey
May 22, 2013 12:27am

I hope that for the likes of Mr. Baruah, writing negative articles about India is not a prerequisite for the exposure they get on non-India news sites.

IPL has created several jobs in the hospitality and entertainment industry. These jobs have a multiplier effect to create several other support jobs in the economy. For youngsters, it gives them the exposure to play with world class players even if they are not part of the national team yet - thereby getting that extra-mental training to play with the big boys.

IPL is world's envy and India's pride.

Parrot
May 22, 2013 04:39am

@MIckey: It has created plenty of jobs in the gambling industry as well. Multiplying the effect of entertainment.

Parrot
May 22, 2013 04:49am

@Guru: Guru ji, if you care to read other articles of Dawn, you will be surprised to see, plenty of coverage of IPL.

Deep
May 22, 2013 04:51am

@haris: Are Mohamad Asif, Amir and Salman Butt Indians or for that matter Majid, an Indian ? You are one of those cynics who can not tolerate power in other people's hands.

Parrot
May 22, 2013 04:53am

@Sumant Bhalla: Look who is talking. A sub-ordinate of Maunmaun Singh.

Bakul
May 22, 2013 05:17am

@raja hindustani: I agree that betting should be legalized. But will it stop fixing problem? Fixiing is result of bettng, leagal or illigal.

SUNIL
May 22, 2013 05:34am

IPL is all about easy money. Easy mony for the underworld who is the biggest beneficiary. In the process the top order bookies, middle order bookies and lower order bookies also get enriched.

The loser is the common punter who is cheated. The result is the case where a person kills his own teen aged cousin in Mumbai to cover his losses of Rs 10 lack for betting in IPL.

The IPL, the BCCI the bookies the politicians the underworld are all hand in gloves to cheat the ordinary punter and cause misery to him and at theri cost. enrich themselves.

This criminal enterprise needs to be disbanded.

Kalyan
May 22, 2013 06:32am

When the Hansie Cronje saga broke out, it was a ODI series. Should we blame the ODI series? When the Butt/Asif/Amir issue came up it was a test series. Should we blame the test series? Now the Sreeshant & Co issue has come now why are we blaming the IPL? I may or may not agree with the culture associated with the IPL but definitely fixing goes beyond rich/poor and beyond cricket format and associated culture. Bottom line is it is due to criminals influencing cricketers.

kanakasabhai natarajan
May 22, 2013 10:08am

The author who is unknown in India does not want IPL at all w/o realising that it has made every nook and corner of India play games. The big players like Dhoni, Dravid, Tendulkar and young ones like Kohli, Gambhir, Ashwin, etc. all remain out of any scandal and only some fringe ones get involved. In an event like IPL which is at par with Euro Cup and World CUp in football as far as size of viewership and money are concerned some problems like the one in FIFA are bound to come.Killing the event as the author suggests is immature thinking.

Shri
May 22, 2013 10:13am

I can see very narrow approach of thinking from author. Yep there are something bads in management & governance of IPL n in other areas too but its does not mean it can not be fixed. Why do not you write what should be done to correct it too? If there is problem , you need to find innovative ways to resolve it. The all kind of sports around the world have some serious problems too but they find innovative ways to fix it thus have built up a world class brand n business employing thousands and inspiring millions. Whats wrong if a boy from street becomes famous and have hugh bank balances. One has to cultivate values within himself if they want to be valued in society. If somebody does wrong ,he has to face the law and loose values he has acquired. Why you want enterpreneurialship to stop? Only couple of countries knew about cricket & its player. Its IPL which has brought whole world to know there is sport named cricket and its player are recognised.India is a country where people not only pity of themselves but there are hugh nos of people who are ready with innovative solutions.

Indo-Pak wellwisher
May 22, 2013 10:42am

@Guru: You are absolutely right. There was not a single mention about any of the IPL matches so far but as soon as the fixing thing came up DAWN suddenly came alive and now more than 50% of its sports section is filled with it. How cheap journalism i must say. Also, all my Paki friends are so desperate to have the IPL banned citing the reason that it is just a money making business, not cricket however their own cricket board is following the same pattern as IPL, BPL and even named their upcoming league as Pakistan Premier League which they changed later to Pakistan Super League as they didn't want to follow India. How funny as they are already following India in each and everything(needless to mention). The "J" factor is just so prominent. Since they are unable to even start their own league and earn some bucks and name for themselves they are just not able to digest IPL's success and wary of its popularity. I wish my friends on the other side of the border just focus on their growth at the moment which is the need of the hour for them rather than taking a dig at every wrong thing in India. This will only help them in the long run and they will be considered responsible world citizens not liabilities for the world.

Khana Kharab
May 22, 2013 10:47am

"Little cricket and much more entertainment, IPL is designed to attract money, more money and even more money. Its lusty hitting arranged to suit television and advertising schedules, with a lot of money for players".

Sub Pakistanion ki thara bewaqoof to nahi hote, if India is making money out of IPL, its because of Brilliant mindset they have got........Pakistanis should copy them and learn from them. Instead of wasting energy on useless efforts we should rather focus on our own home.

Khana Kharab
May 22, 2013 10:49am

@raja hindustani: very well said

Indo-Pak wellwisher
May 22, 2013 10:54am

@Guru: You are absolutely right. There was not a single mention about any of the IPL matches so far but as soon as the fixing thing came up DAWN suddenly came alive and now more than 50% of its sports section is filled with it. How opportunistic journalism i must say. Also, all my Paki friends are so desperate to have the IPL banned citing the reason that it is just a money making business, not cricket however their own cricket board is following the same pattern as IPL, BPL and even named their upcoming league as Pakistan Premier League which they changed later to Pakistan Super League as they didn't want to follow India. How funny as they are already following India in each and everything(needless to mention). The "J" factor is just so prominent. Since they are unable to even start their own league and earn some bucks and name for themselves they are just not able to digest IPL's success and wary of its popularity. I wish my friends on the other side of the border just focus on their growth at the moment which is the need of the hour for them rather than taking a dig at every wrong thing in India. This will only help them in the long run and they will be considered responsible world citizens.

MT
May 22, 2013 01:05pm

@raja hindustani: It is unofficially legal.

Alan Paul
May 22, 2013 03:51pm

@Indo-Pak wellwisher: very well said..best comment i hv seen so far. but dont worry the "j" factor is natural and can be very tricky...people use their J factor to achieve some ting great but we have seen Pakistan enough we know very well they use their "j" factor to TRY to disturb India..since the energy is being spent on destructive way and not in constructive way....the gap has increased gigantically

Ali
May 22, 2013 04:02pm

@Indo-Pak wellwisher: say that again. This news is not about Pakistan but your mind set is dragging you in.

Richu
May 22, 2013 09:26pm

@Ali: Dear Ali, India and Pak are not the same..You talk about any bad things poverty, corruption,rape I can show you that in Pak too or even in Asian countries too. Now you talk about good things.India has lot to say from economic boom,IT parks a lot..But when it comes to Pakistan. It has nothing..It doest have a good thing to say..It is still world's 12th failed state living by US aid..so no comaprison