Abdul Sattar Edhi deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.
Abdul Sattar Edhi deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.
so yesterday’s match brought back memories of the world cup semi that had an entire nation in tears. pakistan’s 329 was spectacular (considering the kind of matches we’ve had in the recent past) and india’s chase of that 329 was even more spectacular. but one has to think if there were greater incentives at play over here.
an old englishman i ran into in the lobby of a hotel a few weeks ago told me that the distinguished sport of cricket had lost all honor. now it was just a game of who can make more money. and we’re not talking about the bookies here.
so i messaged an old friend and cricket enthusiast this morning and had a brief chat with him regarding what transpired last night. here’s what he had to say:
“the board had to satisfy india after they lost to bangladesh. up until the pakistan vs bangladesh match, the latter’s tour of pakistan was on. security was cleared, the ICC had given the go ahead, and everything was going smoothly. the deal stipulated that pakistan would cede victory to bangladesh in return for tour next month. everyone on the pitch knew what was supposed to happen…until gul and ajmal turned it around, winning the pre-agreed match for pakistan. unsurprisingly enough, the following day the chairman of the BCB mustafa kamal said the upcoming tour was called off.
considering the fact that bangladesh is thick with bookies at the moment following the popularity of the BPL, the asia cup could not have gone on with the so called ‘irrelevant matches’. had india beaten bangladesh, every game after that would have been irrelevant. it is the home team after all. and with india out of the tournament would have meant advertisers pulling out, stadium seats not selling, media bookings being cancelled and a viewership of a billion plus not paying attention to the matches because their team wasn’t in it.
now there’s a few conspiracy theories floating around. one propagates that bangladesh will beat sri lanka and play pakistan in the final. another (more likely) one states that sri lanka will beat bangladesh, setting the stage for an epic pakistan vs india final. however, bookies are favoring bangladesh to beat sri lanka because they were allowed access to the BPL matches. with bangladesh beating india, the tournament remained interesting. and with india beating pakistan, they kept that momentum going.”
some of it makes sense. some doesn’t. still very interesting to think about it as a disgruntled part-time cricket fan.
won purchased the world cup.
now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a post born out of pakistani spite. nor is it any sort of anti-indian rant.
this is simply an amateur conspiracy theorist’s objective analysis on what went down on april 2nd, 2011 at the wankhade stadium in mumbai when heavyweights (and favourites) sri lanka lost to india during the icc cricket world cup final.
in the quarters, sri lanka had two openers that never closed. tharanga and dilshan scored 102 and 108 respectively and never even let 3rd down pad up. sri lanka has a bowler who’s the only bowler in the world who’s taken 1.5 hatricks: 4 wickets in a row.
in the final: tharanga – 2. dilshan – 33. really?
let’s leave the technicalities and stats aside and get to the real juicy stuff. the conspiracy.
india was poised to win the world cup the day pakistan lost its host nation status.
the attack on the sri lankan team’s bus wasn’t carried out by pakistani militants. what in the world are we going to achieve by attacking a sports team? this was all part of a larger conspiracy to revoke host nation status from pakistan, furthering india’s chances to win the world cup.
we’ve spent 16 months rectifying that incident with all sorts of security measures and the ICC refuses to give us host nation status back. heck they won’t even let the UAE host on pakistan’s behalf. really?
let’s fast forward to the semis. i’m just itching to talk about it. consider pakistan had really won. do yo think that – in any hypothetical scenario – the powers that run mumbai (political, business, sports, gang, power – related) would have tolerated seeing a pakistani flag being raised in victory on indian soil? that too in the city that suffered the despicable mumbai attacks of 2008 by ‘pakistani’ militants? imagine: a pakistani flag being waved all over the place, pakistanis in celebration, the pakistani national anthem being sung in the city where an unforgivable act of ‘pakistani’ terrorism was committed less that 3 years ago? right.
truth is, pakistan was never going to win the semi-final. because pakistan was never going to make it to the final. because a pakistani flag was never going to be raised in victory in mumbai.
from a monetary perspective, how many cricket fans do you think would have filled the seats of wankhade stadium had pakistan progressed to the finals? 10% approximately. 5% pakistanis. 5% sri lankans.
what a financial disaster it would have been had pakistan made it to the finals, for the ICC, for the wankhade stadium management and investors, for the vendors, for the media planners, for the ad agencies, for the advertisers, for the hotels, for the car rentals, for the restaurants, for the tv channels, for the paanwalas, for the bars, for the clubs, for taxis, for the richshaws, for airlines, for the travel agents…for the indians.
and you really expect me to believe that pakistan was going to be allowed to make it to the finals?
and speaking of the finals. home crowd. home ground. the greatest indian player’s home city.
and you really expect me to believe that sri lanka was going to be allowed to win the final?
the morning of the final, I – like several other of my BBM addicted friends – received an interesting forward. “sehwag out in the first over, for which he has been paid 23 crore. sri lanka will score between 270 and 275. a key batsmen will strike out at 98. india will win the match in the last 2 overs for which sri lanka has been paid 251 crore.”
monetary denominations aside, i really don’t care who got paid what. what i’m interested in knowing is what miraculous coincidence caused sehwag to lose his wicket on the 2nd ball. for sri lanka to score exactly 274. for a ‘key’ batsmen (who everyone thought would be sachin, but was gambhir instead) to strike out at exactly 98. and for india’s captain to score the winning run off a six on the 11th ball to win the match, win the final, and win the cup.
fact of the matter is, aaron sorkin couldn’t have scripted a better screenplay if he tried. if you look up the word ‘epic’ in tomorrow’s dictionary, india’s journey to world cup glory in 2011 will be referenced.
sachin tendulkar, the greatest batsman in the world, wins the the world cup in the last match of his career in his hometown.
ms dhoni, the team’s leader, who’s been getting so much flak for his lack of performance lately, hits the winning six to win the match.
haroon lorgat, chief executive of the ICC, was qouted as saying “can you imagine a more fairytale ending with sachin tendulkar getting a hundred in the final and india winning at the wankhede which is his home ground?” (source: Times of India). haroon lorgat is indian by the way.
does it also not raise eyebrows that the ICC’s partial banning of three key pakistani cricketers (salman butt, mohammad asif and mohammed aamer) for alleged match and spot fixing happened right before the world cup?
fact of the matter – again – is that everything that could be possibly done was done to make sure that india wins the world cup. from the banning of pakistani cricket players, to stripping pakistan of host nation duties, to the hosting of the final in mumbai, to making sri lankas dynamite openers strike out at a dismal collective of 35.
now my question: why?
was it just for the sport? was just for a victory? was it just for sachin?
nope. there are bigger agendas at work here.
let’s wait and see how the second act of this outstanding theatrical performance plays out.