News Round-Up

A lot happening; a lot to cover.

First: the spot fixing scandal in the Indian Premier League. Honestly, we all should have seen this coming. Gambling is a force of nature in cricket, and there are so many meaningless matches, and greed is a basic element of being human, and the game itself is easily manipulated by players who know what they are doing.

It’s a shame, really.

But let’s not blame the IPL. Or the BCCI. Or India. Or Southeast Asia. Or the T20 format. For lest we forget, just last year Englishman Mervyn Westfield was banned for five years for spot fixing. Not in the IPL, but in the supposed last holy sanctuary of the game: county cricket.

The problem cannot be boiled down into just a Indian problem, or just a T20 problem. If we do that then nothing is solved. This is a cricket problem. Fans, the media, the players, the owners, the boards. We are all culpable, and we all need to work toward a solution.

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This situation reminds me of baseball’s steroid problem from a few years back. It is easy now for us fans to look back and wag our fingers at Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and call them cheats. It is easy for fans to blame the owners and the league and the players’ union for not instituting proper testing procedures until forced to by the federal government.

But we, the fans, are just as responsible  We all KNEW everyone was juicing, but we still bought tickets, and went to the games, and turned a blind eye. If we had stopped going to the games, the owners and the league and the players’ union would have made a more concerted effort to clean up the sport.

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I saw Bonds hit home run number 713 at Pac Bell and it was a remarkable moment. I also saw him hit a double off the walk at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. It was the hardest hit ball I had ever seen in my entire life.

And, so, I am at fault. I am guilty.

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The situation is different with cricket, of course. But we as fans need to stand together against all of the meaningless matches; need to stand together against the gambling scourge that is ruining this game we love.

Alone we are powerless. But if we stand together we can change the world.

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Also, shoot, Test cricket is back. And I have not watched any of it except for a minute or two this morning. I have been staying up too late, been too busy at work, and just have not had the time.

But I love the fact that it is happening in the background as I go about my mornings. Love checking the scores every hour or so.  Love that New Zealand is taking England to task.

And I really love the New Zealand cricketers. They play a fun brand of the game and really seem to have a personality – far different than England’s machine like way of going about their business on the pitch.  I fancy them to win this match and really put the hosts on their heels.

I have watched a great deal of Kiwi cricket over the last couple of years. They just always seem to be on when I have time to watch. From their brilliant win at Hobart a couple years ago to their near victory over England this past march, they have really put World Cricket on notice. They might not always win, but if they do go down, they will go down fighting.

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All of that said, I do not care for their uniforms. Not sure how you could possible screw up white pants and a white shirt, but they figured out how.

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Finally, Pakistan is in the UK for matches against Ireland and Scotland; a warm up for the Champions Trophy. The fact that they are there, playing ODIs in English-like conditions makes me think they have a real shot at making noise in that tournament. We shall see.

Pakistan vs New Zealand in the final?

You heard it hear first.

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