Of late, a new breed of self-proclaimed beauties aka wannabes who have ‘sexed’ up the gentleman’s game to the core, has emerged.
One can also not deny that enough has already been done to dent the image of Cricket, which once enjoyed the status of being one of the elitist game forms in the global sporting arena. From spot fixing to racism, the game has seen it all. And the latest evil which threatens to mar the game is the new trending phrase called ‘honey trap’.
With no holds barred commercialisation of the game, Cricket has literally turned into a breeding ground for Poonam, Nupur and Veenas of the glam world.
Here’s how it all started.
It was the summer of 2011 when India set up a World Cup final clash with Sri Lanka. A relatively unknown model dropped a bombshell saying she would strip all for Team India if they lifted the Cup.
India won, but from there the story changed. Marketing geniuses knew exactly how she will become an item o
n the Indian scene. Poonam Pandey turned herself into a commodity, an object of desire whose demand escalated and supply only came in bits.
An unknown Kingfisher model had become an icon of sleaze on the internet - thanks to social networking websites, digital media and exceptional ‘Twitter’ that provided Poonam Pandey a route worthy to become a celebrity.
But even before the emergence of genius Poonam Pandey, another beauty who stirred the hornet’s nest was Veena Malik. In pursuit of fame, Malik went a step ahead by claiming almost everyone involved with Pakistan cricket – from players to officials - were involved from head to toe in match-fixing.
Veena Malik had once enjoyed an intimate relationship with Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Asif. The Pakistani hottie and entertainer, who probably didn’t get the applause she deserved back home, stressed that Asif was involved in match-fixing and had links with bookies, particularly those from India.
And ever since that revelation Veena Malik has become a household name in India. From bagging a place in the popular reality show ‘Bigg Boss’ to being considered for a televised ‘Swayamvar’, the babe had all of it coming into her kitty.
The newest entrant in this list of controversial queens is Nupur Mehta.
She is another girl who didn’t strike gold in Bollywood in her first attempt, but all thanks to cricket that she was invited on Shekhar Suman’s newly revived and very popular talk show ‘Movers and Shakers’.
After a series of failures, Nupur got her big break in Sunny Deol starrer ‘Jo Bole So Nihaal’. Sadly, her acting career never took off and she moved back to her hometown, Delhi. But lately, a British daily’s story headlined – ‘English cricket in bung scandal’ – brought her back in limelight.
Nupur Mehta’s image with a blurred face was published in the paper with allegations of the Bollywood actress being used to lure cricketers to throw games.
Even if we ignore the fact that the pic must have been randomly chosen by the media house, the furore it created was undeniable. It would have been a real ‘shame’ to miss out on the opportunity provided by the newspaper to Nupur.
Experts feel that mathematically, it makes absolutely no sense for top cricketers to involve themselves in fixing as winning brings them huge endorsements, much above any fixer can pay them.
Delhi based bookie Vicky Seth revealed, "Attractive girls are the ideal choice to cosy up to players and persuade them to work for bookmakers."
According to him, "Players are always vulnerable to approaches by pretty girls and when they are offered the opportunity to make fortunes for making minor adjustments in their play, it is an irresistible package".
So, have the fame hungry girls exploited the game for their own good or is it the other way round?
Well, that’s for you to decide.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)