New phrases are set to enter the English language. ‘Towel in the trousers’, as euphemism for ‘thanks for your money, I am happy to betray my sport’, for example. Or ‘stretching exercise’ which means ‘giving someone time to organise nefarious activities.’ New signals, new codes to indicate to the bookies that the con is on. How did we come to this? How does a player earning in millions turn a criminal for a few dollars more?
Perhaps we are all to blame. We got complacent. We decided that such things happen only in Pakistan. We ignored the whispers around the IPL. And when we did land some criminals a decade ago, we let them get away with the odd ban when they should have been sent to jail. We didn’t think it was important to push for laws that would make our sport clean, or at least cleaner. The Delhi Police needs to be commended on two counts. First for its investigation into spot-fixing, and then for booking the players under criminal laws. The mistake in the earlier cases—after former skipper Mohammed Azharuddin confessed, “Maine match banaya (I fixed matches)”—was that no criminal cases were filed.