Get rid of vice in Cricket
Daily Mirror Editorial
Nov 5, 2011

Judge Jeremy Cooke of Southwark Crown Court sentenced four Pakistanis Ė former national cricket captain Salman Butt, reputed fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir and sports agent Mazhar Majeed Ė to jail terms ranging from six months to 32 months for indulging in match fixing during their series against England in August last year.

Former captain Butt and bowler Asif were found guilty on Tuesday on charges of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments. Amir and Majeed pleaded guilty to the charges before the trial. However, will this scandal end at this point? Match fixing is a global sports cancer where personalities run against the tide and their sides and indulge in acts where a third party involved in the betting trade ends up making money.

The earliest reported such incident occurred in the United States in 1919 where several members of the Chicago White Sox conspired with gamblers to fix the World Seriesí baseball event.

Cricket scandals began with several gambling and match fixing allegations particularly the case of Hansie Cronje taking the limelight in the late 1990s, going up to the World Cup investigations of 2007 and culminating in the present events.

The highly publicised inquiry was prompted by the surprise defeat of Pakistan by Ireland and the subsequent investigation into the sudden death, soon after the match, of Pakistan's head coach Bob Woolmer.

However, prior to that cricketís pin-up boys like former Indian cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin and stylish Pakistani batsman Salim Malik were banned from the game for getting involved in gambling.

Even in Sri Lanka the game has been marred by some investigations that involved several players but up to now only a lowly placed computer analyst had to leave the game with a cross against his name over allegations of match fixing.

The ICC has placed many barriers to prevent players getting involved in match fixing. It even has a highly paid anti corruption arm that is maintained by the ICC for this purpose.

Yet why canít this menace be eradicated. Do not the ICC sleuths know that the gambling hub is in London and any side going to play in this part of the world is watched through magnifying glasses just in case they get involved.

These operators are not only influential with money but, are influential in many other ways.

South African Captain Hansie Cronje not only paid with his career, but also with his life for his sin of match fixing, but who did that plane fixing is yet a secret.

Pakistani coach Bob Woolmer died under mysterious circumstances the day after they lost the game to lowly placed Ireland, now only his grieving wife is left with the memories of a husband who went places with his cricket career and cricket coaching.

But, the real culprits are never caught. The bookies get along without a hassle. Why not bring in laws to charge them if the authorities were sure that the bookies interfere in the smooth progress of the game.

As long as the manís greed is intact he can be misled. But, it is up to the authority to find ways of tackling the real culprits and putting them out of business. Till then more and more ifs and Butts will be born.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka