Sunday, 29 August 2010

so what now for cricket?

If the Pakistan spot-fixing allegations prove to be true, then there should be massive implications for the game worldwide. Players will no doubt argue it was supposed to be innocent and not affecting the result of the match, which as alluded to here is complete rubbish. The ICC have a full-txime anti-corruption unit who take particular interest in matches involving India or Pakistan, simply because of their closeness to the underground betting markets. Part of the programme is lecturing every player about the dangers of gambling and being involved with shady parties - not just match-fixing but any form of betting on a match, including spot-fixing.

The spot-fixing events in the Lord's Test are alleged to have been a precursor to bigger fixes, most likely a thrown game in the ODIs. The no-balls were used to show the 'fixer' had the players in his pocket and they were able to be bought.

This is where it will get political, as can only happen with the ICC. The traditional nations will scream outrage and want the players banned for life. The Asian nations will work together and only want to hand down pitifully meagre penalties, so as not to lose power (i.e. votes) at the board table.

If as alleged, the captain Salman Butt is involved, there is a genuine case for kicking Pakistan out of international cricket. I believe that would make it three Pakistan captains caught for their involvement in illegal gambling, and that's not including the many others who have been accused, with or without any more evidence than hearsay. For a brand new captain to be involved in it shows the whole system is corrupt.

Pakistan haven't done themselves any favours in this whole saga. Their national cricket administration system is a farce, the world has been prepared to give them some leniency as they play without a home ground as a result of terrorist attacks, and even more so with the recent floods affecting an area bigger than England. But any sympathy they have been shown will now disappear faster than a politician's pre-election pledge...

One question as more evidence comes to light and people are being arrested for their involvement. How can Scotland Yard charge someone with 'conspiracy to defraud bookmakers' when none of the bets affected (so far) have involved legal bookmakers, only black market ones in India? Surely there is no legal protection for illegal entities?

1 comment:

  1. Your last point is an interesting one. I've put a piece on my blog about this, like 'bungs' in football a lot of this kind of stuff is known to go on, but is hard to back it up with proper evidence.

    The cricketing authorities would probably be reluctant to dish out life bans for players caught unless there is overwhelming evidence. Would the evidence of a NOTW under cover recording be enough? I don't think so.

    Unless it could be proved in a court of law, I wouldn't be surprised to see them getting off with a slapped wrist from ICC.

    And as for your point about the police. How many football managers, agents, or cricketers - past and present - have ever been charged by the police? Not many I wouldn't mind betting. These things are just so hard to prove.

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