The temptation to resort to match-fixing must be very strong indeed, considering the astronomical sums of money that can be made out of it by someone staking a huge sum on a rather improbable outcome of the match and then working assiduously to secure that very outcome. And this need not be a very difficult task, considering that one has to work more often on securing an improbable defeat rather than an improbable victory. We all agree that in a game like cricket, the element of chance plays a very strong part. No one can predict with any certainty how a particular player will perform in a particular match. Such predictions were possible only with Don Bradman, since he could be counted on never to fail. Since totally reliable predictions cannot be made about any player for every match, one can make certain predictions on how a team will perform against its adversary on a given day based on the principles of averages and of probabilities. And one recognizes a fixed match when the principle of averages completely fails to work and the same thing happens with the principle of probabilities. There have been numerous occasions when a couple of reputed batsmen have failed their team, but other less celebrated batsmen down the batting order (sometimes even bowlers batting defiantly) have played better than they generally do to save the team. This is how the principle of averages and the principle of probability seem to work in cricket. But look what happened at the India-Australia T20 match of Tuesday at the Barsapara Stadium of Guwahati. The very first over saw the fall of two stalwarts—of vice-captain Rohit Sharma for eight runs and skipper Virat Kohli for a duck. Shikhar Dhawan was out for two runs and Manish Pandey for six. These four stalwarts put up just 16 runs among them. And then the great Indian team just fell apart. The only players with double digit scores (none of them high ones) were Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya and the bowler Kuldeep Yadav. These four maged to put up 81 runs on the board. But the body language of the players said it all. They were not playing to win on Tuesday. Even the redoubtable Dhoni looked very perplexed and insecure on Tuesday. It is high time the BCCI got rid of the habit of looking at such debacles as ‘one of those bad days’ and had a heart-to-heart talk with all the players individually to find out how an entire team could fall apart without a single player showing the guts to take a stand and fight. There is more to it than meets the eye. This is a vital initiative to get at the truth of the matter.
Fixed, by the Looks of it?