In the twenty-first century, sport and corruption are inseparable. In the wake of revelations about wrongdoings at FIFA, this heartfelt doc about cronyism and racketeering in the world of cricket feels particularly timely.
Sports journalists Sam Collins and Jarrod Kimber – who co-direct and present – view the decline of test cricket as symbolic of the death of fair play in sport, and indeed the wider world. (You could argue that’s a dubious argument given cricket’s colonialist history.) But when they get into the unfolding scandals spreading from India to affect the game at large, their film is compelling, even for non-fans.
It even has its own set of Sepp Blatter-esque villains: tight-lipped Indian cement mogul N Srinivasan, who has fought off repeated corruption allegations and is now the chairman of international cricket; and irksome, fish-lipped Giles Clarke, head of the sport in England.
Collins and Kimber watch from the stands as Srinivasan and his acolytes tighten their stranglehold, their attempts at Woodward and Bernstein-style investigative antics resulting in nothing more than a few ticked-off security guards. But their commitment to international cricket is clear, and ‘Death of a Gentleman’ presents a convincing argument that its future may be in serious trouble.