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Why Playing the Game Does Not End In the Field

With the changing scenario in the cricket world, the major test playing nations are implementing strict policy measures and considering unorthodox methods to enhance the waning credibility of the sport. Clearly most of these tactics are designed to satisfy the incensed sports supporters–a strong opposition to contend with. Some of the most conservative national cricket boards and cricketing councils are compelled to take surprising stands, clearly out of desperation. It is quite evident that these strategies are a direct outcome of the open mass condemnation targeted at poor player performance.

It is no secret that the South Asian countries form the epicenter of the Cricketing Saga. India and Pakistan house some of the most of the impassioned and fervent fan network. In India, the increasing recognition that players have been on the field with less than honorable intentions has created tremendous uproar right up to the top government. The public and media alike have let rarely minced words when it came to flaying the national cricketing board members and their self-indulgent principles. The religious undercurrent in the game runs especially deep when the intensely contented World Cup is underway. The advent of the television age has done much to this effervescent community of sports enthusiasts. Every other devoted cricket buff is fast becoming a self-appointed critic, and is afforded an open platform to provide insightful yet often very prejudiced judgment.

The much-publicized match fixing scandals have done nothing if not hurled the cricketing community into an unprotected underworld rife with lies and greed. Match fixing in organized sports control match outcomes because players perform to a partially or completely pre-determined result. The ill-fated incidents surrounding some of the more disgraceful match fixing scandals are better left unexplored. Yet, undeniably the world of sports has had to sit up and acknowledge this malady. The international cricketing councils and national cricket boards of many test playing nations have had to re-examine some very basic principles including cricketer privileges and game ethics.

As a direct impact of supporters” reaction, aggravated by nationwide, vehement opposition over the World Cup defeat, the national boards have been known to buckle under pressure and making policy shifts as a mode of appeasement. Suffice is to say that the policy makers hope that resorting to controversial strategies and unconventional methods will placate the infuriated masses. Some ardent followers have suggested reconsidering the current ‘business model” that the game is based on, in terms of governance and structuring of player incentives.

Although it is a common view that cricketers owe their massive endorsement deals to the fact that they play for their cricketing boards, it is also equally indisputable that such policies deprive players of some very basic rights. Needless to say there the board assumes it has very strong reasons to strong-arm players to agree any new policy terms. As might be expected, it appears that such inconceivably crude tactics appear to be a direct result of fan pressure. Consider this: countries with far lesser fan following to the game take very lightly issues of player performance and integrity.

It can be deduced from this fairly simple comparison that government intervention and regulations barely play an absolute role in player performance. Far from it, the fans themselves are the primary indicators on whom depend the entire business of sporting. The oft publicized and prejudiced media coverage, far from providing a basis for reasonable discussion, has ensured placatory responses by the sports authorities. Nations with a soft spot for a particular sport often exhibit an innate tendency to go overboard. Questioning ethical issues at a price is becoming a common phenomenon that would do well with more critical coverage and analysis. Regulations and policy shifts intended to assuage fans and gain back public support is never in the best interests of the sportsmen or the sport itself.

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