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Legitimate Spot-fixing:

The future of cricket?

By Nayeem Islam

Few of us could forget the climax of the Australia and South Africa semi-final at Edgbaston, a game that had compressed the glorious ebb and flow of Test cricket into one-day form and then produced a finish that belongs in the realms of fantasy fiction. In that instant, the Proteas exemplified 'choking' at its nadir - producing the first World Cup tie, the tournament's most breathless moment and in the process eliminating themselves from the tournament they had dominated till then. That game also initiated Australia's decade of domination of the game of cricket.

Unfortunately such endings in cricket are not commonplace. It's a long, exhausting game very few countries play or want to play at a competitive level. Its shortest form lasts for three hours compared to only 90 minutes for a normal game of football. And thus it's not a game that fits well into the life of its audience. Even in T20 cricket, mundane matches are not uncommon and finishes like Australia and South Africa semi-final are rather rare. One way to spice up cricket would be to reduce the number of overs further - 5-overs-a-side matches are bound to have more thrilling finishes than T20 cricket.

Another option could lie in converting cricket from mere sports to sports entertainment! That's where the nefarious acts of spot fixing which has recently tainted the integrity of cricket as a gentleman's game could become useful. By legitimising spot fixing, cricket can become the ultimate entertainment package for promising markets like USA. Think about ramifications this initiative could have - intense competition, thrilling last over finishes to ODI and T20 games and packed stadiums would become common scenarios. Cricket could finally become the money-spinner in emerging markets like USA, which it currently is in only a handful of countries. Histrionics can herald a new era of cricket that appeals to a wider audience.

This plan has potential but can it be implemented? It's actually tailor made for the New World because the US audience is already used to watching 'fixed' matches of professional wrestling. And they probably wouldn't mind a game of cricket spiced up using a high level of theatrical flourish and extravagant presentation, the latter being already a key component of the sport courtesy of Lalit Modi's 'Midas' touch in the IPL. The only other requirement is a pool of good actors and a director - Majid and his pack of Pakistan cheats should be sufficient for now. Now don't give this article that ludicrous gaze - the future of cricket beckons us!

(Reference: en.wikipedia.org)

Last week’s topic was Five Senses and among the numerous contributions we received, we chose one that seemed to us to have done justice to the topic. Next week's topic is Bangladesh 50 Years from now. Go wild but keep it readable. Send in your entries to ds.risingstars@gmail.com before midnight Saturday. Your pieces have to be written within a limit of 600 words.

Hypnosis and the Five Senses
“Many people believe that hypnosis is the same as sleep and therefore a hypnotised person's senses are less receptive to external stimuli than normal. This is a misconception. If anything, hypnosis heightens our senses, by clearing our minds of distracting conscious thoughts …”

I took my eyes off the laptop screen and leaned back on my chair. The website on hypnosis I was currently browsing was mediocre at best, but at least my time had not completely gone to waste.

So that night, I lay in bed, with absolutely no intention of going to sleep anytime soon. I prepared myself for this session of self-hypnosis. 'Here goes,' I thought.

I went through the usual steps to relax myself, and then I let my imagination take control.

The grass under my feet was lush green, and felt wonderfully cool and wet. Looking down, I saw dewdrops clinging to the grass, and sparkling like a million stars in the night sky. The dewdrops scattered as I began to walk, and the fresh, early-morning air entered my nostrils as I drew breath.

There was a river nearby, and I moved closer to it. The light blue water was flowing serenely, with a soft sloshing sound that was pleasant to the ears. The river stretched as far as I could see, meandering every now and then, like a continuous blue thread. I went to the edge, squatted down and dipped my hand in the water. It was neither warm nor cold, but pleasant all the same. Water swirled around my fingers and gushed through the gaps between them, tickling my hand. I cupped both my hands and drank from the river. The water tasted as sweet as sugar, and the taste lingered in my mouth long after the water had passed down my throat.

Presently, I stood up, and turned my gaze to the mountains in the distance. There was a beauty in them that defied description. The snow that cloaked the mountains was pure white, emanating a palpable pearly glow even though the sun did not shine upon it.

I heard a bird chirp, and as if on cue, and army of birds began chirping, too. It was not a chaotic cacophony of sounds, but a sweet melody conjured up by nature's own orchestra. The chirping rose and fell rhythmically, every separate sound in perfect synchrony with every other sound …

In the very next instant, the sweet song of the birds was ripped apart by a horrible, high-pitched scream that jerked me violently out of my trance. I was lying on my bed again, looking up at the ceiling, my ears ringing with the dreadful screeching. My heart was palpitating, and I sat up in excitement and fear. I had started to scramble out of bed, when I realised what the source of the racket was.

Someone - either my mother or my older sister had switched on the TV next to my room, and turned up the volume so high that my ears hurt. The screeching was undoubtedly from some young woman in a Hindi serial, perhaps being abused by her husband or harassed by goons.

I groaned and slumped back to my pillows. The information on that website was a dud; I hadn't sensed a thing around me during the trance. I hollered for the TV volume to be turned down, and when it was, I began to relax again, intending to hypnotise myself to sleep.

By Ridwan B. Kushal


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