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.