It's been an extraordinary week or so in the world of cricket as a whole, and the Indian Premier League in particular. India woke up on May 16 to the startling revelation that three cricketers had been arrested by the Delhi Police for their involvement in spot fixing. Since then, a murky trail of betting, fixing, exchange of gifts, of favours curried, of relationships exploited has emerged. There has been an almost unmanageable flow of information, some official, others from so-called sources. Insinuations have been made, aspersions cast, conclusions arrived at, people already tried and prononouced guilty, mostly in absentia. And, remember, the courts have only been peripherally involved thus far.
Three parallel investigations are currently underway. The first, most critical and logical one, is being conducted by the police, who are assiduously collecting information, tapping into their vast resources and following up on leads. Police work, contrary to what television serials and movies would have us believe, is generally laborious, painstaking and anything but glamorous. It involves sifting through mounds of data, separating the truths from the semi-truths and the carefully couched lies. It's essentially plenty of legwork, but invariably, when a probe is conducted meticulously and methodically, the 'lucky' break arrives when least expected. It's a slow and gradual process, as indeed it must be when so much is at stake, a thankless task carried out with precision by a team of driven men.
Then, there is the one-man panel appointed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, whose ambit is understandably far more limited than that of the policemen. It would be naive to expect Ravi Sawani to make serious headway all on his own, given that he doesn't have the resources that the police have at their command. His brief is also completely different from, and independent of, the official agencies. Sawani has a little under a fortnight to wind up his probe and submit his findings, both to the BCCI and to the Supreme Court which, earlier this week, came down hard on cricket's apex body in the country for its 'lackadaisical approach' to the entire saga.