.html> sam's terrain: cricket news, views and controversies

A bookmaker speaks

(This article is entirely a product of the author's twisted imagination. Any resemblance to people who are dead or alive or yet to be born is purely coincidental. The same goes for events described herein.)

By Jimmy Bookmakerwala

Boy, we really had them going didn't we? They thought the other team would win. What suckers; with the odds as high as that did they think the favourite would win? What are we here for -- charity? Sometimes I think of them as poor suckers. At others, I laugh and think, these are the blokes who are supposed to be knowledgeable about the game -- let them flatter themselves by trying to pick a winner. If they knew what the score really was, they would have a fit -- and my head as well -- but for now the going is good. I only hope that the guys we have recruited this time don't blow it by using cell phones when they have been asked not to.

I wonder -- why are the public such fools? When we have a hand in a match, they sit on the edge of their seats and drink the whole thing in and call it a thriller. And matches which are played honestly and lost -- boy, do people get hot and bothered about them and accuse everybody around of tanking. That's why I think we have a better future than all these cricketers and the crowds put together. People just can't tell the difference; maybe it's got something to do with the way the virtual and real worlds are starting to merge these days.

But I mustn't take all the credit; a lot of it must go to the cricketers themselves. They are real pros -- but at what I won't say. They play by the rules. I like doing business with pros and I can't find any better ones than these. The footballers in Malaysia and England who were into fixing -- they are the lower rank of amateurs compared to the guys I deal with. Cyrus (that's my uncle who showed me the ropes of this game) had a problem with one guy once but that was long ago when funny things like national honour and prestige used to get in the way.

How do we meet them? Arre, yaar, simple. You know where they hang out, just get in there yourself. Money can buy you entrance anywhere in this country. I have most of my clothes made in London and Paris; I look a damn sight better than a film start. You're amazed that people who are so wealthy still want more? Then you are real churchmouse grade yourself. The more you have the more you want -- that's the kind of human nature I nurture and cultivate. Once you are hooked, it's like coke. It's a heady drug and some guys do it just for the control -- that is the biggest kick. And a guy who feels that he can throw a match tends to feel very important; we play on that and there's no better way to get a guy into the game than by telling him that the match hinges on him and him alone.

Getting in touch with people is easy. You won't believe the gadgetry I have at home and in my office. I can be in touch with anybody, anywhere, within minutes. You guys think newpaper communications are the best; I tell you the stuff we have will put the New York Times to shame. And no, I'm not being specific because I don't want to get any techies on my back; once they get into the game, we are going to have problems with intercepts. Uncle Cyrus would kill me if he know I was telling you all this.

Ever had a match blow up in my face? Yes, way back in 1992. Some stupid guy got the notion that he was the only honest man in the world and didn't follow orders. He tried to be a hero. Well, he paid the price. He's farming a few acres of land these days. There was one guy who got away because he came back to me and apologised and did not try to pretend he was on some moral high horse. Arre, they will do anything for money -- what was it that guy Packer said about there being a little bit of the whore in every one of us? We all have a price, only it differs.

Information? Oh, there's too much of it around. The more publicity people like me get, the more tends to come in. People are dying to get in on the game because it can make you rich quick. We know about teams before the selectors do!!! And given the fact that humans will always be greedy, I don't figure we will have any trouble carrying on in this trade. Oh, we have to keep a low profile now and then when some guy shoots his mouth off, but then denials are always possible. And given the number of stories which are planted by various people these days, it is becoming more and more difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction.

So, boss, see you around. Want to get in on the action? I'll give you one of my cellphone contact numbers but don't think you can get me on that number always because I keep changing it. That's why I'm still around in this game. You won't tell anyone about this meeting, will you? What's that? Planning to write a piece about it? Why didn't you tell me before we had that first drink? On the other hand, go ahead. I can always issue a denial. By the way, can you tell me about the ground conditions in......

previous reportnext report