Cricket fans should bat for change Boria Majumdar Seven weeks of competition will finally decide a winner later today at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Frankly, it just doesnâ€™t seem to matter anymore. Currently, it is all about the cataclysmic events that have shaken the foundations of Indian cricket. The ordinary cricket fan, cheated and hoodwinked, hardly cares about who wins the IPL. Indian cricket is in crisis and this is a catastrophe like no other. Today the muck has reached the very top and doubts and suspicions go deeper than ever. Take todayâ€™s final, for example. We are told that Vindu Dara Singh has revealed names of a few CSK players who are under the scanner. If these claims are true it might well be that some of them will be playing today at Eden Gardens. And if thatâ€™s the case, will fans who make their way to the ground be watching pre-scripted drama or will they watch a genuine cricket match? The legitimacy of the competition itself is in doubt and that means Indiaâ€™s only global sports brand has been sullied and damaged. Iâ€™d go a step further and suggest that it will take years to restore fansâ€™ trust and till such time cricketâ€™s position as Indiaâ€™s only secular religion stands compromised. One simple fact is enough to illustrate the point. After winning their play-off against the Rajasthan Royals, the Mumbai Indians players did not bother to celebrate. Some of the players speaking to me on condition of anonymity suggested that they were more interested in following breaking news on TV. Gurunath Meiyappanâ€™s arrest had pushed their victory to the background and they were far more interested in knowing if the final was even going to take place. Unfortunately for Indian cricket the ambience has been reduced to one of gloom and mistrust. It is one where the very essence of the sport has been jolted. Cricket, because of the many criminal actors, some of whom are now in jail, has been reduced to a charade. More because the gameâ€™s top boss has placed ego above issues of propriety and morality and is in a mode of complete denial. The president has conveniently blamed it all on the media when the root of evil is in his own home. The more we think that we have been consuming a prescripted charade in the name of cricket, the more determined we become to stay away from this once great game. More importantly, we have started to ask if we can ever again watch an IPL match without having a sneaking suspicion that all is not well? Limitless greed leading to roguish behaviour is the only explanation behind the present crisis. Sreesanth, a double World Cup medal winner, is better off than 99 per cent Indians. He had a plum contract with the Rajasthan Royals, earned enough money from domestic and international cricket and also had a few endorsements to his name. Gurunath is one step ahead. He is one of the richest sports patrons around. Our naivetÃ© will lead us to ask how much more money do they need? Why do they need to do this? Frankly, we are missing the point altogether. Greed has no limit and demented minds get a certain thrill out of successfully orchestrating a criminal conspiracy. In this entire saga, which is both sordid and sinister, the institution that stands to lose the most is the BCCI. Several of its members speaking off the record suggest that the â€œPresident has become an embarrassment for the boardâ€. However, when it comes to taking a public stand none of them have shown the willingness to step up for a cause. The tall claims about governing a gentlemanâ€™s game has turned subservient to safeguarding petty self-interest and maintaining a cushy status-quo. Suffice it to say that cricket is the ultimate loser as a result. Is there a way forward or is it time to write an epitaph for Indian cricket? Is there hope that the game will emerge cleaner out of this crisis and can we treat this as an opportunity to rid cricket of the evil that has corroded the foundations of our singular passion? As an eternal optimist Iâ€™d tend to suggest the later. So what if the BCCI has become inept. So what if our administrators have let us down. Ultimately, cricket belongs to us, the ordinary cricket fan, arguably the gameâ€™s most neglected constituency. It is this cricket fan who is tired of being taken for granted and it is this cricket fan who will lead the clamour for change. It is time to take up cudgels for the sport we love and act as civil society should at a time of crisis. Sixty-five thousand strong at Eden Gardens booing the BCCI president when he steps up to present the IPL trophy wonâ€™t be a bad start tonight. Cricket fans should bat for change by 175 Years : Team TOI's blog-The Times Of India *************************************** Now, people will not go to watch the cricketing aspect of cricket, but the name of the game will be trying to spot the spot fixers and their antics, and on that there will be betting as to who could correctly spot the fixers! Indeed, it is no longer cricket! How can cricket be cleansed?