May 27, 2018, 10:56 pm IST
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Epic champions’ clash

Epic champions’ clash

S. Shivadas , Jun 17, 2017

When the surprise finalists Pakistan and favourites India clash in the Champions’ Trophy final in London on Sunday, it would be a memorable occasion for a variety of reasons. The two traditional rivals have been facing each other in the final after a long time, though India had beaten them in an earlier round here. Pakistan is not in great form at the moment having to grapple with a lot of problems. For that reason it can also play with abandon, having nothing to lose.

With the Indian board also not free of problems this should be an occasion to sort things out. After sighting Vijay Mallya in the stands during an earlier match, it is likely he would be there this time also. Another fugitive, Lalit Modi, in London now, is also likely to make a guest appearance on the occasion.

With the first clash between the two sides attracting over 200 million viewers world-wide, making it the highest rated one day match in history, this clash is also going to better that record. With expatriates of both countries excited this would be a spectacle that Londoners would never have occasion to witness on a cricket field.

Already there is speculation that Robert Vadra, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law, would be witnessing the match. It is possible that a whole range of officials of the Indian cricket board would be there, among them the Delhi CCI chief, Mr. Arun Jaitley, who is also the country’s Defence and Finance Minister.

For every game at the Champions Trophy the BCCI books a 24-seat corporate box and the scramble to get into this group of stake holders and ‘special guests’ category can be quite furious. The CEO Johri, Mr. K.C.Khanna, secretary, Mr. Amitabh Choudhury and IPC chairman, Mr. Rajeev Shukla are among them, the privileged invitees.

‘NRI businessmen, political leaders and celebrities have been constantly calling us’, a spokesman said. In a previous dispute the Committee of Arbitrators, appointed by the Supreme Court to look into cricket affairs, has frozen Rs 76 lakh that the BCCI owes them for the purchase of the 2016 World Cup T20. At that time the BCCI had purchased more than their entitled number of 100 tickets per game.

With such stakes involved one could expect a heavier rush this time. Who knows many other things might get sorted out in the cricket field, maybe even the presidential consensus candidate, the extradition of Dawood Ibrahm, for all you know he might even be present there; after all didn’t he appear at the Sharjah match sitting in the front seat, while our then sports minister Madhvrao Scindia sat in the row behind.

In the Karachi one-day match in 2004, when the MS Dhoni led the team the bonhomie was such that the crowd applauded the Indian victory and President Mushraff shook hands with Dhoni and patted his hair and asked him not to cut it. In the crow was Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka and Jaitley and their cheerleaders went around the stands waving Indian and Pakistan flags stitched together.

Now Dhoni has cut his hairshort and the captain Virat Kohi wears a grim look. And General Musharaff’s whereabouts are unknown.

Meanwhile, according to an outfit, called the All India Gambling Federation, with the help of technology around Rs.2000 crore would be wagered in the final game. Though the odds favour India, this is not so overwhelming a favourite according to punters. According to them if one bets Rs 100 on India and it wins he will get back Rs.147, but if Pakistan wins he will get Rs. 300.

The chief of the AIGE said that roughly Rs. 2 lakh crore has been wagered in all the matches India had played this year. Gambling is legal in Britain and for the benefit of Indians they can bet through UK websites on their credit cards and e-wallets. Whether you have to furnish the adhar card has not been specified.

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