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Isam
September 2, 2010, 01:05 PM
Betting of a different kind

by Mohammad Isam

From a distance, you could just spot a huddle, with probably cards in front of them or, for an easier presumption of the vagabond, they are snorting the wrong stuff. As you go closer, or vice versa, they would seem like the regular hangers-on around the cricket fields of Dhaka, those who make silly enough comments on the play to make you walk away.

But the ones present at this particular ground move together, sometimes in groups of twos and more, and it is wise to point out at this stage that they do not make those mad comments, or sit lazily. This is a different bunch; always having an eye on the scoreboard, frequenting the main scorers' hut as if they really cared about the outcome of this cricket match and screaming and laughing at certain times. You, as a newbie in the barren outfield of the Dhaka University cricket ground (just behind the swimming pool) start to wonder, who are these people?

They are the world's most isolated and rudimentary spread bettors.

Spread betting, for those still not in the know, is the reason why the bad guys do spot-fixing. Confused?

Spread betting is, according to an Internet definition, “any of various types of betting on the outcome of an event, where the pay-off is based on the accuracy of the wager, rather than a simple 'win or lose' outcome”. It is legal, until you manipulate the event (through bribes, mainly) and that manipulation is called spot-fixing. Both betting and spot-fixing are obviously illegal in this country.

These men, clad in white lungis mostly, do not necessarily do the fixing. They bet all day, without even knowing what sort or magnitude of a cricket match this is, whether first, second or third division matches. Even if the match is of no consequence to any of the teams, it is an amusing sight when one in that group would erupt in joy at the end of an over or at the end of the match. Sometimes they are happier than the winning team (that's because there are no win bonuses in Dhaka cricket, only a speech by a merry team official).

They just have a basic idea of cricket and bet on, for example, the outcome of each over or the number of runs the side batting first would score in the allotted overs, and eventually on the outcome of the match, when it becomes a proper bet. And they do it everyday, and without any inclination to stick to a certain set of players or perhaps even judging which team is better. They put amounts from ten to a thousand takas on parts of an innings and the eventual outcome of the match.

Some of the adventurous ones would sneak behind an unsuspecting fielder and ask him to misfield or if they can locate a bowler, tell him to concede a certain number of runs in his next over. The fielders and bowlers are flummoxed by the request, thinking it is coming from the opposition camp.

Without a doubt, league matches have been fixed in Dhaka for a long time and it has normally been done with the blessing of the clubs involved, for crucial points to save a team from relegation or help a team win a championship.

Over the last week, the cricket world has been gripped by the Pakistani spot-fixing scandal, uncovered by the British tabloid newspaper News Of The World.

But at this wildly unexpected setting in the middle of Dhaka, these bettors make a spectacle of themselves.

Ever since proper cricket made its debut at the DU ground in 2006, these men from the neighbouring areas, mostly south of Dhaka Medical College, scale the walls to enter the ground and do their daily spread-betting during the entire period of the cricket season.

They will first take their position under the tall trees on the eastern side and slowly make their way to the west as the day rolls on. Reason for this movement is first to stay close to the scorer and then to sit in the shaded part.

It is one of the most intriguing sights in an already colourful domestic cricket.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=153364

Habib
September 2, 2010, 01:43 PM
Great article Isam vai.

bujhee kom
September 2, 2010, 01:54 PM
Dizzy! Dizzy bhaio Super writing!! Daniilkkaa!

roman
September 2, 2010, 02:03 PM
Amazing stuff....

_Rafi_
September 2, 2010, 02:17 PM
Thats called journalism...not an arm-chair stuff anymore!
Good article Isam vai...we want more of this kind

Razi
September 2, 2010, 02:31 PM
Fascinating article Isam bro, keep it up!

lamisa
September 3, 2010, 03:35 AM
very good and very brave too!keep it up!

Isam
September 3, 2010, 03:57 AM
for those of you who live in Dhaka, make sure you see what goes on in that field during the cricket season.

bujhee kom
September 3, 2010, 12:46 PM
Great article and great writing dear Dizzy bhaiya!!

Nocturnal
September 4, 2010, 01:04 AM
Isam bro - nice report.

FagunerAgun
September 4, 2010, 07:34 AM
A fabulous write up – educative, informative, pragmatic, and masterful with veritable eloquence, cherish able innovative style with social acceptance and norms and prolific sports lampoons to lambaste the lambastables under the very notion of self-dedicated, candid and detail oriented journalism.