All is not lost for those caught in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal. Already some legal experts are talking of how the case may unravel in the courts and they may all go scot free.
In fact, though their playing days may have come to an end, many avenues may still be open to them like…
1. Politics: George Bernard Shaw (who died way back in 1950) once said: Politics is the last resort for the scoundrels. Looking at the huge number of chargesheeted politicians in the Lok Sabha shows how bang on target most of his quotes have been.
One of the accused Sreesanth might still be able to win an election in his home state of Kerala once this whole issue blows over. It is not inconceivable for him to one day follow M Azharuddin’s footsteps and enter the Lok Sabha himself or maybe even the Assembly.
If you think that isn’t possible, then just think of the anti-fixing outrage of the 1990s and how Azhar got easily elected in 2009. Azhar even got his ban overturned, which was a highly symbolic victory.
2. Business: In India, you don’t need qualifications to be a businessman either. You just need the capital and the contacts, which all the fixers have. Interestingly many business houses which have broken laws regularly have been known to go very far.
Now what would happen if one day all the match fixers got together and bid successfully for an IPL franchisee? In India’s Theatre of the Absurd, anything is possible.
3. Stardom: In India if you are a star or a celebrity, then you can simply can encash your status. Attend inaugurations and other functions. Participate in reality shows. Become celebrity judges. You stay in the limelight and get paid for it to boot.
The best example is Bigg Boss. Imagine getting paid for a few months to stay in national limelight, a fact that will help you earn even more money once you are out of it. Sreesanth for one is no stranger to reality shows.
4. News & Commentary: How many of those accused of fixing long ago have ended up coming on TV news channels as cricket experts today? There is no shortage of news channels in India and the bytes they are looking for to boost their TRP ratings.
If you have a good command over English, then you can ultimately become a commentator too. Till the 1980s we had cricket writers-journalists like Tony Cozier and Henry Blofeld who also became commentators. But today that post seems to be reserved for ex-cricketers only.
5. Betting: Isn’t betting banned in India? Then why do so many bookies keep coming out of the woodwork? It seems to be a flourishing industry in India. India has a huge black money economy and illegal betting is one of its constituents.
In fact reports say that Sreesanth indeed had business plans to establish betting houses in India and abroad!
6. Cricket administration: Who knows? This may one day be possible. If Azhar decides that he wants to be BCCI President then he already has a head start by being a member of the Lok Sabha and the Congress from 2009. Politicians have the highest hit rates when they decide to become cricket chiefs.
What if Sreesanth decided to contest for the stewardship of the Kerala Cricket Association? He is after all the tallest cricketer from the state if one puts the spot fixing scandal aside.
7. Writing: What if Sreesanth decided to tell the story of his life? Publishers would stand in line for the rights and the book sales would surely be quite good. Maybe even a Bollywood script would follow.
Writing regularly in newspapers and magazines after that cannot also be ruled out.
8. The underworld: Pakistan cricketer Javed Miandad’s son married underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s daughter. That’s the closest thing to a cricket-underworld nexus so far. But since the cricketer is close to the bookie and the bookie is close to the underworld, what would stop him from crossing over totally?
That could well happen if all avenues were closed to the cricketer in question. That would be a great plot for a Bollywood movie.
Parting shot: Most of the fixers have made so much money anyway that they could even lead the life of a retiree and just keep making the right investments to keep the cash coming in.
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