The answer to that question as of now would seem to be yes. The BCCI working committee met this Sunday to discuss about what is to be done if the players are found guilty. And it will be fair to say that the majority are tilting towards wiping the records clean of the concerned players. It will be as if these players never existed. It sounds sad, but if some drastic decisions are not taken who knows where this sport will end up. Every cricket fan is bound to feel cheated. An event like this takes the fun out of watching the game.
Having said that, it would be a fair bet that the viewership will most likely increase. With the headlines being created by the spot fixing, its very likely that more and more people will want to see what unfolds further in the IPL. There will be a lot of interest specially on the part of the cricket lovers to see how Rajasthan perform in their semi finals against Hyderabad Sunrisers.
With Chennai Super Kings already in the finals, it will be fun to watch who makes it to the final from the other group. Whoever makes it to the finals amongst the second semi-finalists, Hyderabad and Rajasthan will have their work cut out for them. CSK will be all systems go. With such a strong team, and with such experienced match winners and to top it all with a leader like MS Dhoni, CSK will be a tough team to beat.
Even with what all has been happening off the field recently the semis promised some exciting prospects. Chennai took on Mumbai Indians in the first semi-final and totally dominated the game from the beginning. Michael Hussey and Suresh Raina made sure that they made the most once they got going. And with 193 to chase down, Mumbai all throughout faced an uphill struggle. Rohit Sharma felt that they should have made more out of the start Dwayne Smith gave them, but even then it would have had to be a perfect batting effort for Mumbai to have won this game.
With a solid bowling side to defend a solid total, Mumbai could only manage 144. Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo claimed three wickets apiece and the game was over. Chennai will now be clear favourites to win IPL 6.
The second semi-final between Rajasthan and Hyderabad is an interesting match up. Both teams are pretty close as far as strengths are concerned. Rajasthan will be super keen to put the whole spot-fixing affair behind them and what better way of doing that than beating the Hyderabad for a spot in the final against Chennai? It will really mean a lot to them.
As for Hyderabad, with the best new ball bowler in the side, they will think they have a great chance of beating Rajasthan. If their batting can deliver, it will be an interesting match.
Rahul Dravid's experience will matter a great deal in the semi-final. In such make-or-break games, its absolutely crucial that the experienced players make sure they help to set the tone. Once they do that then the younger and aggressive players can take over. For Hyderabad, the team mentor VVS Laxman will have an important part to play in keeping the younger players completely relaxed and focused for the big game.
At least with the tournament still on, we all can put the memories of spot fixing out of out minds at least temporarily and enjoy the IPL 6 extravaganza for a few more days.
First Published: May 22, 2013, 11:05 AM IST