Allow me to get a few things out of the way first : I am a CSK fan and I live in Mumbai. There’s no team I’d like to see lose more than Bangalore. This is primarily because they’re cocky assholes and I hate every other cocky asshole except myself. I love myself.
Now that my loyalties are clear, let me begin.
I find it very annoying when people keep yelling that the IPL is fixed, inexplicably louder when CSK performs well. Why would they do such a thing?
Because Chennai, a team that was “struggling”, is through to the finals after :
- 3 results “mysteriously” went their way. They needed Deccan to win both their games and KXIP to lose theirs. This happened and sent CSK to the eliminators to face Mumbai.
- They packed off Mumbai cheaply, after playing like champions, which sent CSK to the second qualifier to face Delhi.
- They packed off Delhi cheaply, after playing like champions, which sent CSK to yet another IPL final to face Calcutta.
First up, let me tell you some boring but important stats.
1. CSK have played 80 IPL matches (qualifier against Delhi included), the most for any team. They have won 47 having a success rate of ~60%. In other words, CSK are the most successful team ever in the IPL.
2. The highest score by CSK is 246, against the Rajasthan Royals in 2010. This score is also the all-time highest score in the IPL. The second highest score in the IPL is also by CSK (240).
3. The lowest score by CSK is 109. Compare this to the lowest scores of RCB (87), MI and DD (82) and RR (58) – these are the most successful teams after CSK in the IPL but not in that order – and this gives you an indication of just how good CSK is.
4. Since the bone of contention is CSK’s awesome performances, take a peek at CSKs defeats in IPL 5.
- They lost to MI pretty badly in the first match itself, scoring a paltry 112 which was easily overhauled by Mumbai in the 17th over.
- They lost to Delhi two matches later, after scoring a lowly 110. Delhi won the match easily in the 14th over after knocks by Sehwag and Pietersen.
- They lost to Pune after scoring a respectable 155, because Jesse Ryder went mad. He single-handedly laid down the foundation for Punes 156 in 19.2 overs.
- The match at Bangalore was abandoned due to rain. In the other match against Bangalore (in Chennai) however, Chennai easily overtook Bangalore’s 205 after some unbelievable playing by Du Plessis, Dhoni, Bravo and Morkel.
So Bangalore fans can suck it. CSK will always be better than you.
- CSK lost a match they should have won against Punjab after Dhoni, Saha and Raina failed to bat properly and wasted precious time. KXIP scored 156 and CSK needed 157 but scored 149 in response.
- They lost another match, against KKR this time, which should have been won but wasn’t because of Gambhir’s heroics.
- Sunil Narine hasn’t really made an impact on CSK, so I don’t understand the hype surrounding him. He bowled 8 overs against CSK together in both matches, conceding 38 runs (24 + 14) and taking 3 wickets (1 + 2) at an economy of around 5. That’s above average, but most certainly not worth the hype.
- CSK threw away victory against MI because it came down to MI needing 14 of 3 balls, which they surprisingly got.
- The pitch at Dharamsala was terrible for the team batting first, which explained why CSK lost to KXIP again, and badly at that.
That was all. If you look at it, CSK has played just like any other normal team – losing a few badly, losing a few close matches, winning a few close matches and winning a few comfortably.
So what I don’t understand is, why is there talk of fixing? Let me give you some very rational, but mildly strong arguments as to why I don’t think it’s fixing.
If there was fixing, CSK would have dominated throughout the season. They didn’t. This year was similar to IPL 2 in South Africa, when CSK again got through to the semifinals after playing badly most of the season, due to outside results.
Are people screaming “fixing” because CSK has made it to so many finals in a row? That doesn’t make any sense. Most of the owners of other franchises are much more wealthier than Srinivasan.
So if anything, he would ask them for money to throw matches, ie, work against CSKs favor. He’s not going to pay them money (which they don’t need) to ask them to lose matches versus CSK. Maybe I don’t understand how fixing works.
Conclusion : Srinivasan and/or CSK need not fix to win. Or maybe I don’t know how fixing works.
If CSK did make it to the finals through fixing, would it have been so obvious that every Tom, Dick and Harry knows about it? I’m talking about the three results which went Chennai’s way. A bunch of teams needed to lose, for CSK to qualify, which happened.
If fixing had occurred, it wouldn’t have been so obvious. If it’s obvious, then there’s no fixing. What do I mean?
How many of us knew that spot-fixing occurred obviously in the IPL, as revealed by the India Today sting? Did you know about the Hanse Crojne fixing the moment you saw the matches he played in? How about the Mohammed Azharuddin thing?
That’s the thing. The whole point of fixing is to make it subtle. If it’s too obvious (that is teams throw away matches) then eyebrows will be raised all over which goes against the purpose of subtly deciding results ahead of time.
If there was fixing, it would explains why Warner dropped catches and batted badly, and also why Sehwag bowled suddenly and fell early. But why couldn’t they have done the same to Morkel?
Nothing is stopping them (who is them anyway? Srinivasan? BCCI?) from asking Morkel to bowl badly. Isn’t making him sit out making the whole fixing thing obvious?
Again, that contradicts the whole basis of fixing – that it shouldn’t be obvious because money is to be made. If it is obvious, then no more money. If it’s obvious, it’s not fixing.
Conclusion : If it’s obvious (for example, a bunch of results going CSKs way) then it’s not fixing.
A lot of people screamed “fixing” after the 2010 final, when Mumbai’s go-to man, Pollard came in late. He entered when Mumbai were staring at defeat and had no time to bat and cause any coup. But that’s not the first time that it’s happened with Mumbai.
Mumbai have always shown uncertainty about their batting order and keep rotating players. They also have extremely poor team selection and I’ll blame Sachin for this, because I think doesn’t know much about being a captain.
Similarly after yesterdays awesome result versus Delhi, people were saying the CSK matches are definitely fixed because the Purple cap holder, Morne Morkel, was benched. How come no one is talking about the 2010 Purple Cap holder, Pragyan Ojha, who was benched for most part of the IPL, by Mumbai? If it is fixed, look into that as well.
Or maybe it’s just a matter of poor team selection again. They could have left out Jayawardene for Morkel but, as a friend said, going in with so many bowlers wouldn’t have made sense on the Chennai wicket. They needed the bowler-batsman-all rounder combo so, with Pathan injured, they chucked out Morkel to get in Andre Russell.
So there’s that.
Delhi were dismantled by Chennai the previous time they met due to some excellent bowling by Hilfenhaus. They lost both Warner and Sehwag early. This is why Sehwag came at 1 down, letting Jayawardene open.
It doesn’t really matter to Sehwag if fielding restrictions are there or not – he will blaze away nonetheless – but I reckon he figured out either he or Warner need to stay till the end if they had to win the match, which wouldn’t happen if he went early.
So he promoted himself down.
So there’s that.
As for bowling first, I genuinely don’t know why. Stupidity?
Conclusion : It’s not fixing, it’s stupidity on part of other teams.
Nutshelling everything, it’s easy to understand that it’s not fixing because Srinivasan doesn’t need to fix, it’s not fixing if its obvious and it’s not fixing, it’s just that other teams are stupid.
What is my point from all of this?
It’s not fixing or anything highly shady. Infact, it’s not even pure cricket.
Watch it and go the fuck to sleep. If you’re taking the IPL too seriously, you have problems. Yes, I do too, because I just blogged about it. But you get my point.
As with any other sport, there’s a 50% chance a team will win and a 50% chance a team will lose. Just because CSK steamrolled over MI and DD doesn’t mean they’ll do it to KKR. It also doesn’t mean they won’t steamroll over KKR and get a hattrick of IPL titles.
It just means that the match will be decided at the particular point, and depends on all 22 players, not just the 1 or 2 who allegedly have been “bought by money”.
Anyway let’s just assumed that there is such a large pro-CSK fixing conspiracy.
Are the fixing conspiracy nutjobs seriously suggesting it is possible to keep all players in the IPL, about 500, along with all coaches, support staff and owners quiet about it? You can’t silence that many people despite the money you have, simply because it’s impossible. It’s not possible.
The more the number of people know a secret, the higher the statistical chance that the secret will be revealed.
If most of the CSK matches ARE fixed in favor of CSK, how come it hasn’t made the news yet, even via anonymous calls or letters? It’s not big legitimate news yet. This is exactly why UFO conspiracy theorists, JFK Assassination conspiracy theorists and 9/11 Inside Job conspiracy theorists have all been dismissed as idiots.
So I’ll use Occam’s razor, and conclude that CSK is good because they play well as a unit and not because matches are fixed.
They are honestly one of the better quality teams, because that’s what they are. They have never failed as a team except rarely. If one player fails to click, others click instead of him. If the batsmen fail, the bowlers click. If the bowlers fail, the batsmen click. When both click together, teams like RCB are completely fucking demolished and left by the wayside, like IPL 2011 final.
But when compare you this to RC-Bangalore (which are heavily dependent on Gayle and mildly on Kohli and DeVillers) and Calcutta (Gambhir), you can see why CSK are doing well.
Non-CSK fans ranting on about how “the black madraaasis” are winning, and how “conflict of interest is there” and how “its so obviously fixing” about this should stop, because it just makes them sound like a bunch of pussies whose teams can’t win.
Stop it with the wild fixing-is-happening bullshit already and enjoy the matches.
(I’ve chosen NOT to address several points, like the conflict of interest that N. Srinivasan apparently due to his roles in both BCCI and the CSK management. Or the Kris Srikkanth thing.)