The kerfuffle in the women's doubles in badminton at the Olympics has given our girls a chance to get a medal and by the time this is out in print we will know if they have grasped the God sent opportunity. Saina Nehwal in the semis has become the first Indian to do so in badminton and that is truly a great achievement. Parupali Kashyap has been magnificent too.
I witnessed his second round match against a Vietnamese player ranked higher than him and the manner in which he demolished him is an indication that we have another special talent in the game, and he needs all the encouragement to get more laurels for the country. Since tickets for the Olympics are given for particular sessions of the day, the happenings that shook the badminton world happened just after that first session. The number one Chinese women's doubles team played in such an obviously shocking manner that the crowd realized what was happening and gave vent to its feelings by booing them.
Anybody can go through a bad day at the office, but the top ranked pair was hitting in the nets and out of court with such regularity that it did not take a genius to understand what was going on. They were losing so that they could avoid meeting the number two ranked team also Chinese in an earlier round and meet them only in the finals. The South Koreans also did that and justified it by saying that the Chinese started it. The pairs were disqualified and are probably home now as they would have been thrown out of the Olympic village too.
This kind of match fixing is done not for money, but for securing an unfair advantage for a team. This is one of the main reasons that the technical committee of the BCCI, under my chairmanship did away with the bonus points in place then for scoring at four runs an over or for picking x number of wickets in the Ranji Trophy. This was being patently misused by teams that had already qualified for the knockouts to deny another strong team to get through by deliberately conceding such points to lesser opponents so that they could qualify and not the better team.
The only incentive points that work are those given for getting an outright win while all other points can be abused and misused. The simpler the points system is the less the chances of its manipulation. It worked like a dream for the first years of the elite and plate divisions till vested interests got in and added other points.
Chris Gayle heralded his return to West Indian Test colours by getting a brilliant 150 and his opening partnership with Kieron Powell, who also got a hundred shut up the Kiwis, who claimed at the end of day two that they were on top. Then Kemar Roach bowled quick and captured five wickets that gave the Windies a Test win against a top country after a long time. He had help from Sunil Narine, who got 8 wickets in the game.
India have also wrapped up the one-day series against Sri Lanka with the help of yet another ton from Virat Kohli, but the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week is Chris Gayle for his 150 and 64 in the Test that helped the Windies supporters smile after a long time.