Why would an Indian professional cricketer who is assured of an income in the range of Rs one to ten crore per annum, even when he doesn’t wear national colours, choose to underperform?
Who are my clients?
A set of bookies, the ones who have no role in the current spot fixing mess but want to make up for lost business. They don’t know if the fixing bit actually happened, but if I can decode why multi-millionaire cricketers could be interested in tarnishing their hard-earned name and fame for a few lakhs of rupees, work will become easier for them. They could use the info to recruit ‘fixers’ – of both the match-fixing and spot-fixing kinds.
My second client is a concerned official of the cricket board. He also wants to know why multi-millionaire cricketers could be interested in tarnishing their hard-earned name and fame for a few lakhs of rupees. No. He doesn’t want a share of the spoils. His intention is completely noble. He wants cricket to be clean. Clean like the Ganga .
Luckily, conflict of interest doesn’t apply here. If cricket officials can own teams and former players can hold multiple cricket posts, a private detective can certainly handle cases of opposing sides.
This case will not be easy to crack. My work this time involves considerable legwork; many hours of research; many gigabytes of interviews; application of psychology, sociology, behavioural science and medical science; study of financial markets; criminology and forensic science.
My tools are in place. I have already got reports from the field. As usual, the table in front of me has a magnifying glass, bhujia, peanuts, lemon pickle, puttu and kadala curry, prawns fry, mutton olathiyathu and tandoori chicken. But unusually for me, there is no bottle of rum, vodka, arrack or toddy on the table. There is a reason for that. Last week I ended up sending some intimate photos of a client’s wife to another client, who made full use of it, and the photos ended up on a porn website. Luckily for me, there is a PIL in a court against watching porn on the Net, and I am told netizens are so scared, they have already given up on sex. The damage was minimal, yet it was done.
Now, instead of rum, I keep kulukku sherbet, kulukku salt-pepper soda and Poosari Babu’s special chilled chilli butter milk. Don’t go by their names. They are as potent as any alcoholic beverage can get. The first two have crushed ice, which is normally used to preserve fish illegally. They have heavy doses of ammonia in them. The third one – chilled chilli sambharam – has red and green chillies in equal measure, but not butter milk. I drink it, and I get to know organs I never knew existed – it burns everything on the way to stomach and beyond.
And of course I have the white board where I stick my paper notes to be analysed later with the help of my skills of deduction and assumption. My guru, as you know, is Sherlock Holmes but of late I have taken a certain liking for his elder brother Mycroft who is so brilliant, he doesn’t even move from his table. One day I will be like him. All pay and no work.
Now to the task at hand. If the cricketer in question was involved in fixing, why could he have got involved?
Probability No 1: Infant Till I Die Syndrome
I don’t know what they call it in medical science, this is often found in children, especially in the age group of 1 to 8 years. Children seek attention but often parents get busy doing their own stuff. What does the child do then? He does nice little things to earn your praise, like cooking up imaginary chicken pulao, feeding you tea and vada made out of thin air, yet you ignore them. You can’t be faulted. It’s a sign of the times. Good things are never appreciated. No one cares for honesty and hard work. They are virtues of the past. The child now does more daring things that are bound to grab your eyes, like dropping the glass from the table, setting the curtain on fire by overturning the candle stand, things that sure to get a thrashing in reward. However, a few minutes later they come with their sorry face with enough sorrow, repentance and tears to melt you. If you don’t, then you are not human, you are from Krypton. Some children, only in very rare cases – let us say 0.1 per cent, nurse this habit even as they grow up, some even take it to their graves. It is quite possible the Test cricketer now accused of spot fixing suffers from acute Infant Till I Die Syndrome.
Probability No 2: Multiple Personality Disorder
The Subject has seen Vikram act in ‘Anniyan’ and Shobhana in ‘Manichitrathazhu’ so many times, he now feels sympathy and empathy for not just one personality but quite a few of them. He is a different person at different points in time. Such people are very disciplined and stick to a time table. From 8 pm to 11 pm, he becomes an IPL cricketer; 11 pm to 3 am, he turns into Michael Jackson; 3 am to 7 am, he is Mumbai ka Bhai; 7 am to 3 pm, let us censor that bit…
Probability No 3: Yeh Dosti Hum Nahin Thodenge Syndrome
It is also called The Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed Syndrome. My Subject is a man who stands up for his friends. If your dost wants a couple of lakhs, you don’t feel like paying him from your pocket. Why should you, when all you need is throw a few overs?
Probability No 4: Robin Hood Syndrome
His heart bleeds for the poor. He robs cricket fans to feed the needy. In that case you can’t fault him. It’s true you don’t get tax exemption for the money you lost watching matches, but that’s a very small sum to pay for a larger cause.
Probability No 5: A Mallu in every corner
When Neil Armstrong landed on Moon, he was welcomed with a hot cup of tea served by a Malayalee. As the saying goes, there is Mallu in every corner of the world. Being the only Malayalee Test cricketer, the Subject was destined to do it. No free will here.
Probability No 6: Obsessive Compulsive Devotion Syndrome
When do we seek out God? When we are in need, one might say. But what if you have got all that you want – fancy cars, wine, women, wealth, house, love, everything one could ask for? Yet you feel like going to God, again and again. Maybe, commit a few harmless sins and ask for forgiveness. Quite a number of people in Kerala found out about temples near their homes after reading the Subject’s tweets. I, for one, got to know of a temple in the fourth bylane off the second lane off the main road that leads to the national highway that takes me to the city 100 kilometres away from my home through his tweets. This theory is highly improbable, but still possible.
Sometimes, as Sherlock Holmes says, things are so overt, they are covert. The answer could be staring at your face, yet you search for what is beneath those reams of documents, forensic results…
My subject could have indulged in fixing because he is indeed the Appam he is said to be. Just think of it! Who other than an Appam can get into the position he is in right now? And I have material evidence to support my claim. His neighbours vouch for his love for appams, he often throws idlis out of his house because he wants appam and stew. Those idlis are now souvenirs, some of them adore my showcase.