I feel cheated in a way that I have never felt before. The love of my life, for which I have painstakingly devoted years, has ditched me. No, I am not telling you about a love story gone awry, but the heart wrenching tale of a sports lover. And it is not just my story but one of plenty of other sports fanatics from around the globe.
It all started one fine morning when I picked up the newspaper. Reports of Pakistani cricketers taking money to allegedly fix matches were splashed all over the front page. As I went through the sinister story of how three players ganged up with a London based bookie to rig various international matches, my throat began to dry up and I gasped for breath.
A British tabloid had conducted a sting operation on a bookmaker during which it was revealed that he was in touch with several Pakistan players and had the ability to pre-decide the result of the ongoing series between Pakistan and England. The report had concrete evidence to suggest that the bookie was a close confidant of Pakistan players and also gave several evidences to prove that what he said was not a joke.
As days passed by, more skeletons out of the closet revealed that the result of most of the matches that Pakistan had played in recent times were decided even before the toss of the match, and also that almost the entire team was a part of the ghastly act.
Although I wished this to be a nightmare, it was all true and the sad part is that it had been happening for the past several months even while I sat glued to the idiot box, watching each and every delivery of what some would call an inconsequential encounter, with baited breath.
I remember the days when I would bunk school to catch a crucial Indo-Pak match or even forget to eat for the entire day while watching a Test match. I also recall the times when I would stay awake all night to watch the Toronto Cup where matches carried on late into the night. Suddenly it all seems worthless...I have been made to look like a fool in front of those who told me to forget about the game and concentrate on my studies, in front of friends who thought I had gone nuts and even in front of myself.
There were times when at the end of a nail-biter, the batsman would play a silly looking shot and get out. It is a different ball game when you are in the middle, I would say to myself. But, now it has all started to make sense. Maybe all those matches were fixed. Maybe all the matches to be played will also be fixed. The entire existence of such a beautiful game like cricket has been put to threat by the deplorable actions of a few.
Condemn them, punish them, hang them and beat them. They are not just criminals of thousands of innocent souls, but traitors who have ditched their countries and millions of sports lovers for just a few bucks.
However, what frightens me the most is that will there be an end to this menace? Will the game of cricket ever manage to come clean and regain the lost trust of the believers and will things ever be the same again?