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Can ‘it’ be done Alone?
By Yusman Ali

It is always easy to levy charges rather than prove them. Till date none of the accusations against any player anywhere in the world has been proven in a court of law (confessions and constructions being a different thing). Near at hand, we have a rather 'rich' tradition of players accusing each other without ever substantiating any charge. The latest luminary to join this galaxy is Mohammad Azharuddin. In a recent interview to a leading magazine, he came out hammers and tongs against his former colleagues. His sustained arguments were :- i) How he could have been one of the most prolific scorer of his times had he fixed matches, and ii) How could he have fixed the matches alone.

Let us examine the second situation a little more closely.

Yes, Azhar Has A Point
As in any team game, an individual cannot conclusively decide the outcome of the game. We have a category called 'Man of the Match', which is the person having the greatest influence on the course of the game and it is more often than not, a very tough decision. We have to admit that all the eleven people have a role to play. Similarly, if things go wrong, fingers can be pointed at a particular person for doing the maximum damage, but then even if he alone cannot compel the team to lose a match. So if Azhar is bent on losing a match, he can at the most run himself out for nought, drop all the sitters that come his way and even ball an over conceding 36 runs at the most. Still he would have to ensure that other guys also underperform. Supposing that no one else is involved, they would chip in with their part nullifying Azhar's scheme. Even Hansie needed a coterie around him to fix up matches. The match at the top of the to-be-investigated list is the 1999 Ahmedabad test, whic!
h did not figure Azhar and in a way strengthens his point. There might be other players involved and Azhar wants to expose them as well.

No, Azhar Is Fooling Around

Given the competitiveness of the game at the top level, the laxity on part of an individual can cost the team dear. One costly over or a crucial catch dropped can be the turning point of the game. Batsmen can purposely go slow and even run unsuspecting partners out. Actually fixing up things becomes ridiculously easy, when one is the captain - and Azhar was the longest serving one. Two other disgraced counterparts, Mallick and Hansie were also captaining their respective sides. The captain can jolly well leak out confidential information, select a wrong team for the game, take a suicidal decision after the toss, set a wrong field for a bowler, declare arbitrarily as fixed up with the bookies.  Any of these decisions have the potential to turn the tables.

We have seen both the sides of the coin and are in a better position to judge, if Azhar could have done it all alone.



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