Exposing the under-belly of cricket

Neeraj Kumar in his new Book ‘A Cop in Cricket’

There is more to the under-belly than just match fixing! In this explosive book, the author, a former Commissioner of Police, and a top cop, provides rare insights into the dubious world that strikes into the very heart of a sporting game.

Neeraj Kumar, in his forthright and unassuming manner, exposes the world that one does not normally see, but one which co-exists almost hand in hand. For those who love the game of cricket, in sports in general as many of the ills mentioned also belong to other verticals, and remain concerned about the moral fabric of our nation, this is a must read. From a mention of how the veteran cricketer Virat Kohli was denied his entry at the start of his career, to the time when sexual harassment cases came up against a former BCCI CEO, and these were dismissed so brazenly, to how state level teams get fabricated to make money through betting. It’s all there, making a very absorbing reading in a modern-day narrative.

On the serious side of what this means for cricket to follow, we reproduce below a transcript (abridged), from a virtual conversation between the author and with Boria Majumdar, noted commentator and anchor on television and print, and  G. Rajaraman, an eminent sports journalist. If not entirely, but certainly happier days appear ahead, as far as fixing is concerned, believes Neeraj. The broadcast was organized for The Hindu newspaper and for Revsportz TV channel.

“Boria Majumdar: (leading columnist and TV anchor)

Two questions. Number One, your take on match fixing and spot fixing – can they ever end? Because in your many avatars in your life, you have dealt with it hands on. Much more detailed, deep dived than any of us can contemplate. That’s one I want to address and the second one is the question of betting. So, your stand on legalization of betting.

G. Rajaraman: (eminent sports journalist)

As Boria said today, we’ll celebrate your book. We need more such books because it gives us a perspective into the working not just of the BCCI or if the International Cricket Council but we get a fair idea of what really is transpiring in the world out there. Most of the journalists or fans typically, engage with television or with website which give us the cricketing aspect. You have seen the underbelly of the world of cricket and you’ve been quite open and shared it in this racy book. It makes for exciting reading. I’m sure it will … A lot of us will get educated. Even those who are not deeply connected with the game of cricket will like to read this book. So, congratulations on your third book sir. The first two were super success. I’m sure you’ll find this also getting to the OTT platforms.

Neeraj Kumar: (author)

My answer to that question is – no crime or no malpractice can ever be done away with fully. They will always…. Some part of it will always remain because the potential is always there. But it can be curbed to a minimum level, it can be curbed to, shall we say, an acceptable level where it doesn’t really hurt the game of cricket, the spirit of cricket so to say. So, if you compare the situation today with the situation that prevailed during the time of Hansie Cronje or say Mohammad Azharuddin and so on, you’d notice that the chances of any team throwing away a match has virtually come to a naught. That is because that it is well-nigh impossible to compromise say five players, six players of a team that a match, so that a match can be thrown away. How is this happened?

Because already the fear of God has been put in the players that if they get discovered, then their entire career will be over, as the careers of so many crickets have been over.

So, the chances that any fixer can compromise six players, five players so that a match can be given away is almost next to impossible.

So the level of corruption in cricket, I would say, has really come down to a level, which I wouldn’t say is acceptable but which is manageable. Which can be managed by anti-corruption officers and I’m talking about all over the cricketing world.”

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