Cricket in India is said to be like a religion. Karl Marx has said religion is the opium of the masses. It is interesting to see in India's 40 degress plus heat stadiums full of spectators, cheering the T20 IPL tournament currently underway in the country. Such is the love for the game that prople are ready to shell out hundreds to thousands of rupees to watch players from all over the world sweating it out in hot and sultry weather. Spectators really get emotionally involved  in the games and want to see their favourite players perform everytime.

The IPL format is very well thought out and although no one is playing for the country but regional loyalties are encouraged to drum up support for local teams. This brings crowd support and the other revenues. The players are got through an auction and even fresh players earn substantial sums to lead a comfortable life. A large number of players who otherwise would have gone unsung have become household names and have also earned handsome fees running into lakhs and crores of rupees. No one grudges them these high incomes.

The bonding between the players and  the supporters is based on the trust and belief that the players are playing only and only for their team.The fans are trusting that the cricketers assembled from all over the world are honest and proud to play for their pride and dignity.

Little do they know, that sitting far away in the cool comforts of hostile environments to India. are elements who are out and  out to make money at the expense of the IPL games. They are fixers who care two hoots for the IPL or the cricketers or the paying public. They want to mint money through betting on each and every ball and other aspects of the game. If they were playing by the rules perhaps no one would mind it even though it is an illegal activity. The problem is that they fix the outcome in their favour and take bets against it. This way they ensure their winning the bets and making huge sums of money running into crores of rupees.

These betting syndicates operate from safe heavens of Pakistan and Dubai as per the police agencies.They have their  betting agents in thousands all over the country with Mumbai being the nerve centre and controlling the all India operations. People of all income groups lace bets and win or lose in the bargain. But it is a well known fact that the syndicates rarely lose and it is they who rake in the profits running into crores of rupees. One of the way of ensuring high and assured profits is by fixing the outcome at predetermined intervals. 

They thus require the services of players who will cooperate in delivering the fixed outcome during the match. It is here where the integrity of many players is tested. For cooperating with the betting syndicates and doig what they want to be done the players receive huge sums of money running into lakhs of rupees. It is not difficult to find a few willing players out of the nearly three hundred and odd participating players of the nine IPL teams. The matter comes to light only when they are caught by the police. The rest of the cooperating players can go Scot free. They can keep the huge sums of money they have made by betraying their teams and own consciences.

The three players of the Rajasthan Royals team including Sreesanth have been caught literally with their pants down. Clinching evidence put forward by the Delhi police clearly shows how they were carrying out the'fixing' in their overs by giving agreed to runs and thus ensuring that the betting syndicates earn huge sums of money. Is'nt it surprising that it did not occur to the them that they are betraying the trust of their team and millions of spectators all over the world. Did it not occur to them that they were letting down the name of India. Did it not occur to them that if caught their careers would end and they would have to lead a life of shame. Why were they ready to risk their name and fame for a few lakh rupees.

According to a bookie the format of IPLT20 is ideally suited for betting. It is a bettors paradise. Forty overs or 240 balls give that many betting opportunities in a span of three and half hours. On some days two matches are played, doubling the betting opportunities.There are large number of persons who want to make quick money and thus put bets with the bookies. It is the BCCI and the IPL management, which having let loose the IPL monster, have to ensure that their players do not fall into the traps of the bookies. Merely parroting that they are not government or they do not have investigating agencies is not the proper response. 

The BCCI wants to keep the moolah but pass on the responsibility of ensuring fair play to the police. This is not done. Why do they not have a fool proof security system which ensures players do not come into contact with bookies. Why do they not factor it into the players contracts that if they are caught in fixing activities they will forfeit their earnings and the Board will lodge an FIR and have them prosecuted.That they will be banned for life from playing cricket officially goes without saying. Why should not the Board take an undertaking from the players before and after every match that they have not done any activity at the behest of the bookies.This will also act as a regular reminder to the players to behave.

What is painful is the fact that our own players are cooperating with bookies operating at the behest of anti India mafia groups from Pakistan and Dubai and allowing them to make huge sums of money which is then used by them to finance anti India activities resulting in killing of our citizens and other collateral damages.That we are a soft state is well known but we are also an indifferent state is now becoming clear. How long before we become a proud country which will not place bets with proven anti India syndicates. How long itwill take for our many players to realize that country is greater than money and that reputation is worth millions. How long before the organizers know how to conduct a tournament and not only rake in millions and be thrilled.

I do not know about how many have lost interest in watching IPL but I surely have.

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