On 3/11/2011 for the first time cricketers were sent to jail for spot-fixing. Salman Butt was sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment. He was the captain. Mohammad Asif was sentenced to one year imprisonment. Mohammad Amir was sentenced to six months detention. He was 18 years old when he bowled the no ball. Mazhar Majeed the fixer was sentenced to two years and eight months imprisonment.
On earlier occasions cricketers found guilty of match-fixing were banned for life or for some years. There was no imprisonment. In this case it happened in England. Southwark Crown Court in London sentenced the cricketers to jail. The punishment could have been seven years for accepting corrupt payments. The cricketers got off lightly. Other countries can follow Englandâ€™s example and prosecute cricketers involved in match-fixing or spot-fixing. In India they can be prosecuted for cheating and criminal breach of trust or treason. There is no need for a separate law for match-fixing or spot-fixing. In England the cricketers were prosecuted for conspiracy to cheat and accepting corrupt payments.
There is the story of a man who killed the goose that laid golden eggs. Similar is the case with BCCI.
Recent ODI series in India against England witnessed large number of empty seats in Hyderabad, Delhi, Mohali, Bombay and Calcutta. There was drop in television viewing. The law of diminishing returns was at work. Within six months of World Cup interest in cricket had declined. During World Cup there were long queues for tickets for matches played by India and in some cases there was lathi charge. For the past four years there have been Tests, ODIs and T20s one after the other and people were bound to lose interest at some point.
India lost the Oval Test by an Innings and eight runs on 22/8/2011 and with that lost four Tests in succession after many years. It was in Oval in 1971 India had bundled out England for 101 in the second Innings and won a Test and series in England for the first time. Last time India lost all four Tests in a series was in 1967-68 in Australia. India, who were No. 1 in Tests before the series began, now rank No. 3 in Tests. How the mighty have fallen!
India lost the Test, the series and No. 1 ranking at Edgbaston. England beat India by an Innings and 242 runs. India were 224 in the first Innings and 244 in the second Innings. This is the worst defeat since Lordâ€™s 1974. England declared their Innings 710/7. Indiaâ€™s batting was average, bowling was not good enough and dropped catches made it worse. The Test was over within four days. Virender Sehwag returned to Tests to be out to first ball in both Innings, in first Innings after UDRS appeal. Hopes that he can turn things around were dashed. For India, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the top scorer in both Innings, 77 and 74 not out. Indiaâ€™s No. 1 ranking lasted 20 months.
Indians hoped that India will do well in Trent Bridge Test. India will win and it will be 1-1.
On Day 1 England were all out 221. At one time they were 124/8. India were 24/1. On Day 2 India were all out 288, a lead of 67 runs. At one time they were 267/4. England were 24/1. On Day 3 Indiaâ€™s bowling was not successful. England dominated. The day began with Vaseline controversy. Till tea break India had the chance of winning or drawing the Test. After Ian Bell run-out controversy it was downhill for India. England finished the day 441/6, a lead of 374 runs. On that day England scored 417 runs on a single day, highest since 1954. After tea break India did not have the will to fight. Something was seriously wrong. It seems there was a split in the team and many players were demoralised. On day 4 England were all out 544. India were all out 158 in 47.4 overs and lost the Test by 319 runs. Sachin Tendulkar was the top scorer with 56. Harbhajan Singh scored 46, Rahul Dravid 6, V. V. S. Laxman 4, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 0. The match was over within four days.
Once a record is broken it does not remain a record. Once Sunil Gavaskar hit 30th Test century he broke Don Bradmanâ€™s record of highest or most Test centuries. Afterwards it was Sunil Gavaskarâ€™s record and not Don Bradmanâ€™s record. Sunil Gavaskar ended his career with 34 centuries. When Sachin Tendulkar hit 35th Test century he broke Sunil Gavaskarâ€™s record and continues to hold the record with 51 centuries. After Sunil Gavaskar whenever someone hit 30th century he did not break Don Bradmanâ€™s record because there was no record. It is wrong to speak of Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting, Jaques Kallis and Rahul Dravid breaking Don Bradmanâ€™s record. When Rahul Dravid hit 34th Test century he equalled the number of Sunil Gavaskarâ€™s centuries but did not equal his record because there was no record.
On 31/7/2011 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, it was the last ball before tea break. Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan had completed three runs. Ian Bell thought the ball had cleared the boundary and he left his place and walked towards Eoin Morgan. The umpire had not signalled boundary. Praveen Kumar had stopped the ball. He…
India lost the Lordâ€™s Test by 196 runs on 25/7/2011. It was 2000th Test and 100th Test between England and India. Before the Test India ranked No. 1 and England No. 3. It was the first Test of a four Tests series.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni had won the toss and should have elected to bat. Electing to field was a mistake. Many years ago Mohammed Azharuddin had won the toss and had elected to bat. In that Test Graham Gooch scored 333 runs in the first Innings and 123 runs in the second Innings and became the first person to score a triple century and single century in the same Test and that was a new world record. Before that there were some who had scored a double century and single century in the same Test. Sunil Gavaskar, Greg Chappell and Lawrence Rowe were among them.
There is a feeling that cricketers prefer club over country. Gautam Gambhir playing IPL matches when he had an injury and opting out of West Indies tour is one instance. As Dean Jones put it was a choice between 11 crores for IPL and 2 crores for West Indies tour. It is said that as per contract Gautam Gambhir would have got the full amount of 11 crores for IPL if he had played five matches. He did not have to play other matches. However the contract could have something in fine print that required Gautam Gambhir to play all matches to get the full amount. When Sri Lanka wanted its players to return early for practice for England tour they were told that payments to players will be held up. Lasit Malinga retired from Test cricket instead of giving up IPL.
BCCI owns IPL. Franchisees pay money to BCCI and players. They want to recover their money. Franchisees drop players whom they do not want. BCCI wants money and does not care about players getting medals for country and did not send a team to Asian Games.
Q: You said Pakistanis are large-hearted, Indians are not. What do you mean?
A: Pakistanis are ready to lose matches for friendship. We lost semi-final at Mohali and showed our large-heartedness. We dropped Sachin Tendulkar four times. We could have scored the winning runs. It was not difficult for us to score 261 runs. We did not score and allowed India to win.
Q: Poor fielding and batting is not a sign of large-heartedness. Kamran Akmal on an average drops two catches in every match.
A: Kamran Akmalâ€™s heart is larger than other Pakistanis. His heart is the largest in Pakistan. Behind every successful man there is a woman. Behind every successful batsman there is Kamran Akmal. But against India other fielders dropped catches. We showed our friendship. About batting, even in the last over we could have won. Misbah-ul-Haq could have hit five sixers consecutively and Pakistan would have won. Instead he did not score a single run and gifted his wicket.