The poor Indian bookie
They kissed Hansie Cronje. They revered Hansie Cronje. They even polished his boots to show their admiration for him. Then one day, it came to be known that the revered, the admired and the celebrated Hansie Cronje had for a friend a ‘dishonest criminal’ in the form of an Indian bookie. The rest of the story, we know. Some of the people who worshipped him still continued to do so. They still want to kiss him. They eagerly look forward to polishing his shoes (but they don't know where he is). The rest of the people despise him. Some of them want to spit at him (they too don't know where he is). What happened to Hansie Cronje? What made him fall down from the golden throne he was perched on in a godlike fashion into a stinking septic tank? (He is so stinking that they had to put him in quarantine). The South Africans sure know the answer to this question. It is all because of the blasted Indian bookie.
Everything that happens in the world of cricket these days that fetches a bad name to the game (there is not much happening that does otherwise) is because of the Indian bookie. Players throw mud at each other because of the Indian bookie. Chairmen of boards swear at press conferences. Big shots spit at other big shots. Respected gentlemen contact their lawyers to bring about libel proceedings against other respected gentlemen and players run away from the police. Pakistan lost to Bangladesh, South Africa gave England the match away. And it all started from the Indian bookie.
There is so much hatred against this poor soul that if I allege that the man who shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and started the first World War, the guy who advised Hitler to kill Jews, the chap who bribed Brutus to kill Julius Ceasar, and the fellow who started the Boer war were all Indian bookies I am pretty sure all of South Africa and Australia would be behind me backing my statement. The Indian bookie is also responsible for the fall of the Roman empire, the leaning tower of Pisa, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the arrival of the AIDS epidemic and proliferation of nuclear weapons. The South Africans did not know how to spell match-fixing before the advent of the Indian bookie. They did not know to cheat, to kill, to lie or to steal others’ property. He was the one who introduced crime into their country. They were a bunch of god-fearing citizens. Their motto was ‘Equality for all’. ‘May the best man win,’ they said – as long as he was white. And Cronje made no more than an ‘error in judgement’. It was the Indian bookie who committed the crime. The Australians too are a honest lot. They have umpires in their country whose integrity is beyond doubt (until proved otherwise). Shane Warne and Mark Waugh did not even commit an ‘error in judgement’. They took money and confessed. What’s wrong with that?
Well, if Cronje or Warne or Waugh is not a criminal to Australians and South Africans, then to me, the Indian bookie is a saint. I admire him. I worship him. I revere him. I’ll support him to the end of the world. I suggest the least our government could do is to release a postage stamp in his honour.