Home > Cricket, Random Stuff, Sports > The Fall of (a) Man

The Fall of (a) Man

Anyone who has reached here expecting a religious discussion with reference to a certain Biblical episode in the Book of Genesis, I hate to disappoint you but you came to the wrong place. This post is about the fall of a man who did however eat the proverbial forbidden fruit.

The man who four years ago was a candidate for UN General Secretary is today disgraced and shamed. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you once again: Dr. Shashi Tharoor, former UN Under-General Secretary and former Indian Minister of State for External Affairs.

Tharoor and Modi in happier times!

Just a small introduction before we turn to the more important things at hand. Dr. Tharoor was born in London to parents of Indian origin. He pursued a career in international affairs gaining his doctorate at the young age of 22 years. He promptly joined the UN and rose through the ranks till, in 2006, he was nominated by the Indian Government as their candidate for UN General Secretary. Though he withdrew his candidature at the last moment, had he won, at 50 years of age he would have been the second youngest UN General Secretary in history. Aaah what could have been!

This prompted a move to Kerala in India as Dr. Tharoor visited various campuses and conventions extolling the virtues of India and Kerala. Amidst rising speculations of a position in the Indian Ministerial Council, it finally seemed that India was on her way to having more sentient citizens in the driver’s seat. He eventually did get drafted into the council and would have still been there but for a certain Mr. Modi (Anyone by the name of Modi seems to be detrimental to the general health of the Congress government – be it Narendra Modi or Lalit Modi). The latter is (yet) the Commissioner of the Indian Premier League, which in the past three years has spun money so fast that the people involved are now hiring staff just to count the money!

Well it all began on a bright evening when Mr. Modi probably took a cue from the Indian Cricket team captain and decided to “tweet”. He now hopes he had been using Dhoni’s phone and/or mobile connection. Then at least either his “Maxx mobile” would have been stolen, and in a worst case scenario, been found in a red light area (ala MSD) or his Aircel connection would have puttered and died out even as he logged in to the service. But alas, it was not to be and he made a “friendly” comment involving Tharoor and a certain IPL franchise that wasn’t even formed completely. Now Tharoor was not to be left far behind. Having had his run-ins with the “tweet” bug evidently wasn’t enough. So the failed lessons of the ill-famed “Cattle class” tweet came back to haunt him as he posted a repartee that would have put Jerry Seinfeld to shame. Evidently poor Mr. Modi had difficulty comprehending the higher finesse of English used by our External Affairs Minister and in his enthusiasm to throw back a punch ended up with his face in the proverbial pie. What followed in the next few hours was a volley of punches thrown from both ends that in the end put to shame a classic “Undertaker-Shawn Michaels” brawl. Both went at each other with gusto, each reply adding fuel to the fire to win. Probably they were both plugged onto Mountain Dew and failed to realise that going over a crumbling rocky ledge on two wheels is possible only if you have dumb luck or advanced cinematics on your side. Nothing of that sort here, however, as both swiped blows dragging into the battle close associates and family. At the end of the bout, Tharoor’s Ministerial position was already under the scanner while Modi licked his open wounds. In a flurry of activity aimed at damage control, the Congress Executive Committee decided to ease the troublesome Tharoor out of the system once and for all while the BCCI went up in arms against their highest money grosser for the last three years. The score at the end of Sunday stood with Tharoor having lost his Ministerial position alongwith his dignity, Modi having been thrown to the circling wolves (aka Income Tax department) as offerings in hope of a possible appeasement to leave the others alone and close associates of both shooting off their mouths in absolutely random and uninvited manner in the media. The media of course had a field day and more than one jilted TV channel, which lost the bid to SET MAX for telecast rights three years ago, reveled in showing scandalous photos and tweets over and over. The fallout was even worse. All the ten IPL teams were now under the scanner as were their owners. Telecasters were also not spared as the I-T department cast a wide net to catch even the small fry. What 8 IPL franchises playing for three years had failed to do, one IPL franchise, without a single player, leave alone a match, against its name, managed to do: shoot the IPL to the front page of every single periodic publication in the country.

Which brings us to the obvious question – why is everyone so shocked by the revelations of a full fledged underground betting scandal? Whoever believed that Rajasthan Royals could win the IPL 2008 or that the team that finished at the bottom of the heap would actually pick up the cup the next year in 2009? Or did no one wonder why suddenly all balls bowled to Yusuf “Animal” Pathan were all juicy full tosses asking to be smacked into the crowds while a bowler, R P Singh, who failed to make it to the undersupplied Indian bowling line up was suddenly flummoxing batsmen of the highest caliber and international experience? The IPL is a huge money making machine. Period. It is but expected that betting would be reponsible for the outcome of the game. Or else why would one of the teams suddenly go into a tailspin conveniently after the “Maxx Mobile” time out? To all those who talk of loss of momentum, I feel like laughing. These are a bunch of professional cricketers we are talking about. Heck they don’t even leave the ground. I have seen drinks breaks in test matches that last longer than 150 seconds. I hardly recall many test matches that suddenly changed course after a drinks break. I know you would say that test matches are a different ball game but this is cricket in the end. Both forms of the game involve the batsman trying to connect with the ball and get maximum possible runs out of it while at the same time thwarting the bowler in his mission to pick up another scalp. Moreover how do you explain a sudden explosion in the assets owned by Mr. Modi – whether it is the fleet of Mercs and Beemers or that private jet or yacht. Why would a channel, which gains maximum revenue from its prime time spots, put on hold regular soap operas and instead telecast a couple of hours of “cheerled” fun if there weren’t enough money in it?

As I see it, the IPL is going to be fixed in terms of semi finalists, finalists, winners, losers. So instead of trying to kill what can’t be killed, why not make it legal. I am expanding on the idea put forth originally by Sidin Vadukut and Anand Ramachandran in their respective pieces. Lets run the IPL in the way the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) TV show works. The WWE centers on putting a bunch of angry men (and women) into a ring and then mint money from it as millions of fans pay fantastic amounts of money in tickets and Pay Per Views (PPVs). Here are a few thoughts if you care to ponder:

  1. There shall be 10 franchises with, say, 10 iconic players who would “stay loyal” to the franchise. The others are free to switch from one franchise to another as per their will (actually the company’s will).
  2. There will be no prefixed schedule. That’s so boring and passe! Instead, on the night of the match, the presenter would announce one by one, the two competing teams for the night. The teams would have their own entry music (and please no “Korbo Lorbo…” or “Go Chargers!!”) as well as some entry videos.
  3. Each team would be allowed to field only five of their iconic players (at least 2 each from bowlers and batsmen). For the remaining 6 each, there would be a call for arms. Now the non-iconic players can have their own entry music and video and they would come rushing out to the middle and choose the franchise they would play for that night. The surprise element herewith would make it more interesting.
  4. If a team fails to get 11 players on the field(KKR and KXIP are you listening?), the presenter will at his discretion (again actually in a preplanned manner from the company’s viewpoint) add non-iconic players to the franchise to complete the requisite 11 players. This will be exciting when players who hate a particular franchise are made to play for it – whether to play for victory or throw the match for spite!
  5. The match will be decided by pinfall or submission as is the general rule on WWE. Pinfall would refer to a conventional victory by outscoring the opponents in the allotted 20 overs while submission would be when one of the bowlers has been hit for a 20+ economy rate having bowled at least 2 overs. (Kochi may well reconsider their choice of captain!). The teams can also win by countout if the referee counts to 10 in the event that the opponent refuses to take the field after somebody like Kieron Pollard has sliced and dissected their bowling attack.
  6. There could be interesting alterations added like tag team matches where a bowler or batsman in trouble would have the option of tagging somebody in. Also, there could be the usual illegalities like, say, Robin Uthappa running into a KXIP vs DC match and while Gilchrist is trying to explain to the referee how he was out and so should be made to leave the pitch, Uthappa hammers Sreesanth into the middle of last week.
  7. Players like Symonds, Sreesanth and others who are (in)famous for their on-field antics could actually be in a group of their own which chooses which franchise they would play for as a whole ala CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society. This way, if you want Symmo on your team you also get Sreesanth in the bargain. Come on we have to be fair to the opposition. And imagine the “triple threat” situation wherein Bhajji must choose whether to slap Sree or call Symmo a monkey! First rate I say!!!
  8. Regular rules would prevent any batsman from hitting more than 3 sixes in a row and 7 in total against a single bowler. This would again protect the poorly developed Indian bowling from the likes of Pollard and Yusuf.
  9. There would be no tournament final per se. Championships would change hands whenever a franchise challenged the champion side for the title. This way any night could be a potential championship match! What excitement!!! Also it would allow the IPL to run all year long. Imagine the revnues!
  10. Timeouts can be used more creatively for Diva matches involving owners, co-owners, Mr. Modi, the cheerleaders and any other willy nilly ready to let go of their dignity in front of the world.
  11. And with immediate affect, lets ban “The Karbonn Kamaal Catch”, “The City Moment of Success” and “The Maxx Mobile Timeout”. That will surely be the death of the IPL!

Those are all that I can think of. Readers are free to suggest more. It is a very accommodating format and your imagination is the limit.

And yes I know that the post may seem a bit lame to a few but if you can sit through those agonising news items that dissect every tweet sent by Dr. T and Mr. M, at least this is creative so show some respect!

Categories: Cricket, Random Stuff, Sports
  1. 23 April 2010 at 11:30 IST

    Whew! That was an exhaustive post on the whole sordid IPL row! I have been off cricket for some time now and so never gave my ear to all those screaming media hordes. I like your statement about legalizing betting in cricket. When everyone knows it is there, why not bring it out in the open?

    Btw, for someone who is a self confessed cricket hater, you have all the facts and figures at your finger tips!

    I started commenting on this post at 3 AM (couldn’t sleep and logged in by force of habit) but the net played truant when i hit the ‘submit comment’ button!

    • 23 April 2010 at 11:47 IST

      Hi Ma’am
      I’m not so much as a cricket hater as just plain disinterested. Cronjegate destroyed cricket for me and the only reason I am still even remotely interested is because of the man called Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. I am 120% sure that I would finally stop following cricket the day the man retires. Pretty similar to dad who watches cricket with only a passing interest ever since Sunil ‘Sunny’ Manohar Gavaskar.

  2. Ninad
    25 April 2010 at 01:08 IST

    Good one SKS! I am myself a self-confessed cricket hater. I inherited that from my dad, who was an avid cricket fan. But started hatting it since the late 90s, when one of his friend’s friend openly revealed about match fixing.

    • 25 April 2010 at 01:14 IST

      Again, I am not a cricket hater as much as indifference to the game. It could also have something to do with my complete inability to play the game. Anyway, it is disconcerting to see the reasons for most people in our generation losing passion for nation’s unofficial national sport revolve around match fixing and betting… Probably this is the moment for hockey or even soccer to play catch up and come into the spotlight… i’m not saying it would be easy… but it can be done!

  3. 25 April 2010 at 05:49 IST

    This format looks wonderful! so nice to type on white space!! Thanks for taking the suggestion seriously and doing the needful. Much appreciated, son.

    • 25 April 2010 at 10:22 IST

      Well it needed to be done… and I feel somehow this theme suits even better… with all the colourful shapes going different directions and overlapping each other, they truly epitomise Brownian Motion… a kaleidoscope so to speak 🙂

  4. Nik
    26 April 2010 at 12:46 IST

    SKSSS. Why so pained over these recent happenings ? I just equate IPL to some ZEE TV soap with illogical twists and turns; great entertainment! Infact I like it just the way it is!

    • 26 April 2010 at 13:08 IST

      HAHA… Nik i’m not “pained” at recent happenings. I also have no illusions about the “genuineness” of the series…. Its just that the blogs mentioned in the post got my imagination running so I though I’d put it down…. Hope you enjoyed it at least 🙂

  5. Ninad
    3 May 2010 at 01:10 IST

    SKSS..where is the article you were talking about United reclaiming the Premier League Title?? 😛

    • 3 May 2010 at 07:21 IST

      Aaaah…. can’t say I didn’t see that one coming 😉
      Yeah yeah I know Chelsea defeated Liverpool…. but lets discuss that on another forum and not here…. And hopefully I will post a season round-up for ManU soon. 🙂
      United we stand!!!!

  6. 10 May 2010 at 23:07 IST

    Dude…u need to blog soon…i thought my reader was misbehaving and not showing ur posts!

    • 10 May 2010 at 23:19 IST

      yup expect a post sometime this week… been busy at work past couple of weeks…. and moreover don’t have an inspiration to write anything…

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