After the Indian debacle in the Sri Lankan match in the World Cup, the undersigned made some comments on the possibility of the result being an outcome of a “Match Fixing” affair. Of course, it was stated that the “Match Fixing” need not be “Betting Based” but could be related to the “Captaincy Issue” or “Player Politics”.

This analytical statement has now been confirmed by the statement of none other than the Coach Greg Chappell. Greg is aware that his chances of continuing as a Coach of India is remote. But as a professional, he needs to defend himself against being the sole cause of India’s failure. In the process, he has dropped a bombshell by stating that a group of senior players were conspiring against Dravid and caused the loss.

There may be a few who may say that Greg is trying to divert the attention from his failures. But for those of us who have been watching Indian cricket for a long time, the accusation made by Greg appears very credible.

In my opinion, the problems in India started when Azaruddin was a Captain under the BCCI president ship of Dalmiya. At that time, it appeared that Azaruddin’s tenure as a Captain was extended only to ensure that his commercial contracts should not be affected. Naavi had discussed this aspect in some of the web articles. Even during the 1999 world cup it appeared that India threw up a winning situation against Zimbabwe as a part of the match fixing. Though the truth on this is known to people like Javagal Srinath who are considered otherwise honest, the truth never came out in public since every Indian player is having a vested interest in keeping away from such controversies. The dangers associated with speaking out or even threatening to speak out have been well underscored in the murder of Bob Woolmer.

Even in the present world cup loss, what Greg has been saying can be corroborated by some of the other members in the team. But it is unlikely that any of them will ever come out with the truth since it will hurt their commercial interests including the “Benefit Game” on retirement.  But Greg has no such vested interest and hence his words must be considered as reliable even if immediate public corroboration does not come through other players. Only an in camera enquiry by an independent authority may reveal the truth.

What was new in Greg’s accusation is that even Sachin Tendulkar could be part of the group which was working against the interests of Dravid.  After our earlier article on March 15th, some comments were received from Ganguly fans that I have been only critical of Ganguly and not of Sachin. Of course it appeared that he was not keen on the captaincy and hence he was not suspected of any motive. But the immediate demands from some quarters that he be made captain after removign Dravid though his position as a player itself is suspect, has necessitated a revision of our earlier assesment of Sachin.. Facts do strengthen the feeling that there cannot be any other reason why Sachin consistently failed in crucial matches while he was playing relatively better in inconsequential matches. Perhaps he has never forgiven Dravid for declaring the Indian innings in Paksitan when Sachin was on 190 not out in a test match, (though the decision was imposed by the non playing captain Ganguly through Dravid).

To understad, Sachin’s lack of contribution,  let us look at the NCR point table in the World cup again. Sachin’s NCR batting score was -1 and -2 in the matches against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Ganguly’s scores in the two matches were respectively 37 and -6. Harbhajan’s bowling NCR points were 5 and -2 in the same matches. Is it a coincidence that all three players failed simultaneously along with Sehwag in the first match and Yuvraj in the second match. 

Indian Performance in Cricket World Cup 2007 (Naavi Cricket Rating View)

Player Bangladesh Bermuda Sri Lanka
  Batting Bowling Batting Bowling Batting Bowling
Virender Sehwag 0 28 46 10 63 0
Munaf Patel 15 29 0 26 8 25
Zaheer Khan 13 8 0 38 -2 47
Ajit Agarkar -1 -5 0 48 0 28
Yuvraj Singh 41 -7 42 0 3 0
MS Dhoni -3   10   -1  
Rahul Dravid 8 6 0 57 0
Sachin Tendulkar -1 2 29 11 -2 21
Sourav Ganguly 37 8 0 -6 19
Anil Kumble   0 43    
Robin Uthappa 5 0   17 0
Harbhajan Singh -3 5   21 -2
Dinesh Karthik 0    
S Sreesanth            
Irfan Pathan            

Judging by the performance, there are enough reasons to feel that there is some truth in the allegations.

It is therefore necessary to conduct an enquiry by a team of  three non controversial former players to find out the truth. I suggest Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Kapil Dev and Mohinder Amarnath to constitute this enquiry team.

Until the enquiry is completed, for the forthcoming tour of Bangladesh, Sachin, Ganguly, Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh should be dropped/rested along with Dhoni. If Yuvaraj is also a suspect as has been indicated by Greg, he also has to be rested until cleared.

Naavi

April 03, 2007

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