May the best fixer win?

Fixing is so rife in the domestic T20 league that players on opposing sides in one match were on different bookies’ payrolls, a high-level police source said on Wednesday. This led to a situation that would have been funny if it hadn’t been so scandalous: batsmen on each side had cut deals with bookies to lose the game.

The side batting first notched up a meagre total that it fully expected would ensure defeat. But the team batting second outdid their rivals by making even fewer runs, and duly lost. Result: embarrassment in one dressing room, and one set of flabbergasted bookies.

“The losses for the bookies in league with the team batting first were huge, running into crores,” said the source.

That is the promising beginning of a story in the Hindustan Times. (And I notice that it has already cued considerable speculation about which game it could be).

And ‘beginning’ is all there is, really — the story is a little more than a tease, sourced to the usual anonymous tipster; after such a promising set-up, there is no big reveal, merely innuendo on the ‘mind-boggling’ revelations to follow.

Instinct is to dismiss such unsigned sensationalism outright. Except? This: It is no real secret that fixing — spot, session, whatever — is fairly rife in the league (though the idea that two entire teams could be in on a fix at the same time is, what is the word the no-name cop used, mind-boggling). It is also a given that the days and weeks ahead are apt to produce some fairly big revelations, if only because the investigation is now snow-balling, and is multi-pronged with the IT and ED departments joining in.

Elsewhere, I read yet another interview with N Srinivasan, where he laments that it is not fair to expect the BCCI to do the policing. We don’t have the powers to tap phones like the cops do, he laments.

Very amusing, that line of defense. Of course the BCCI can’t tap phones — but surely it can enforce its own rules about phones in dugouts? It can enforce its own rules about the dugout being banned to all but players and support staff?

That is what the ACSU does — but when the ICC offered the ACSU’s services, the BCCI pushed back saying no, thanks, we will do our own policing.

Of course, the BCCI did no such thing — on the contrary, it permitted all sorts of folks easy access to players, both during the game and later, at the apres parties that officially no one knows anything about. And then it laments that it does not have the tools to police the game.

In passing, does it strike you as strange that a certain Rajiv Shukla, Commissioner, IPL, has not been heard from?

PS: Gurunath Meyyappan missing, N Srinivasan not speaking, says the ticker on TimesNow just now. But of course — if you were Srinivasan, just what could you possibly say? Your best bet would be to lie very low, and hope the man who picked you out for power, and who you succeeded, together with other powerful pols like Shukla, can make all this go away.