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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Thursday July 04 2013

This piece is from May 28, and the fixing concerned the IPL, then in progress, but the sentiments are permanent:

As a sports fan who likes to think of himself as a member of the “serious” class of that demographic, I enjoy embedding sport in its broader social, cultural, economic and political contexts; indeed, it is these contexts that elevate sport above mere coordinated physical exertion and give it its most resonant and rich meanings. Such a placement in context does a great deal to enhance and make richer my appreciation of the on-field endeavours of those who play the game; I track my growth in maturity as a fan as correlating quite closely with the increasing attention I paid to cricket’s history, economics and culture. Taking one’s eyes off the on-field action to look behind and around is thus a crucial aspect of understanding it better.

Me too.

But these broader inquiries should never make us lose sight of the bare bones of the game, the basic bat-on-ball stuff. When that happens, we have been distracted adversely and our attention, supposedly meant for the game, has been consumed elsewhere. We aren’t being fans of the game any more; we have been suckered into something else altogether.

My resentment and frustration about the latest fixing scandal to strike cricket is grounded not just in in a very real weariness about the unending capacity for stupidity and greed on the part of cricket’s players and managers. (Killing golden geese is always tempting; too many seem to have succumbed recently.) It is a reaction, too, to fixing’s insidious ability to make cricketing action seem like a bizarre simulacrum of the real thing, to render ersatz that which I need to believe real in order to sustain my fanhood.

What I despise most about fixing is that it slaps me upside the head and tells me I’m wasting my time, that I’d do better to find other ways to while away the hours, that I should just move on, for there is no cricket here to be seen.

Exactly so.  Cheating drains the meaning out of a sport, to the point where you feel like a fool for caring about it.

Here is another desperately depressing piece about the unrepentant Danish Kaneria.  I would like to be told what was the nature of the evidence against him, though.  ECB Chairman Clarke’s statement just states that Kaneria is guilty, basically, of trying to recruit other Essex players into his gang of bribees, and that he should come clean.  Clarke doesn’t say anything about what that evidence was.  Other players?  Tapes?  Was it all just the word of one other player, Mervyn Westfield, whom Kaneria persuaded to take bribes?  If so, why did they believe what Westfield said about Kaneria?

Same report here, from the BBC.  Again, no detail about what the evidence was.  The opinion that Kaneria is guilty seems to be unanimous, but I would like to be told a bit more about why that is, just to be sure that Kaneria’s life ban is the right thing.  If he is guilty and unrepentant, then it surely is.