There was a time when betting used to be on results. Then came a time when it was on scores and then it became a whole lot intricate with bets put on each ball and over. The India-England tour has defied all odds and left the betting syndicate topsy-turvy.
So before the 2nd ODI, a friend in a bar called his bookie and told him to put 20K on Yusuf. I told him with innocence (ignorance) that Yusuf was not in the team. The next day, he called to ask if I could lend him 20K. Reason: Manoj Tiwary and not Pathan had been flown to England! "Damn this selection committee," he screamed.
Cricket used to be an unpredictable game. The ongoing tour seems to have changed all of that and with the eventual result all known, the bad company I keep tells me bets on result has become a thing of the past. Even betting on overs is old school. Injury is the new in! "How is this Munaf still bowling," a friend asked me. "I put 10k on his hamstring and I am losing it."
While much has been said about the war-torn Indian cricket team, it came as a shock that intricacies like which cricketer, which of his body part and for how long he will be out has been worked out with a corresponding amount attached to it. So, for instance, Suresh Raina has the highest commanding price. "He dives yes but he gets injured no. He is fit. 1 to 5 odds for his injury," I was explained.
So who is commanding the least odds? "Fletcher! The odds on his knees carrying that weight is just 10 to 1. Sun-stroke is 5 to 1 and alcohol overdose is 3 to 1," I was explained with lazy arrogance. The last odd of course, is based on the assumption that the Indian coach is drowning his sorrows in English whiskey after every defeat and every injury.
According to an email I hacked from another friend's mobile, those who bet on Yuvraj made the most since odds after his 'reviving' advertisement for a pill, had raised confidence that he will be well and fit to play. "To Bookie. Increase previously agreed amount on Yuvi. He looked wobbly in the Test today. Regards XXX." That Yuvraj managed to score some runs in that Test mattered little to this smart pal however.
And with each defeat coming India's way, it is clear then that if this team continues to play this way on the field and off it, the logistics of betting will be changed for years and years to come. So whose your money on next?
Note: All characters in this write-up are fictional. Any resemblance to persons living, dead or just injured, is purely co-incidental!