Opinion: Tackle fixing menace first in domestic circuit

first_imgBaron Paul Condon, former head of the ICC’s Anti Corruption Unit (ACU), has set the cat among the pigeons with his disclosure that match-fixing and spotfixing in cricket was not only rampant in the 1990s and the first decade of this millennium, but also that most international teams were involved in this.He has also been emphatic that spot-fixing has its roots in county cricket, and was further fuelled by the growth of T20 cricket.It would not be impertinent to ask what Condon did to arrest this problem in his near-decade long stint as chief of the ACU. Indeed, why did it take him so long to make these observations public even as the game was being torn asunder by corruption? It would be a disservice to the sport if his research findings and assessments had been stored away as memorabilia for posterity, not affirmative action when he was heading the ACU.Nevertheless, Condon’s revelations have busted the myths that match/spot fixing is essentially a sub-continental phenomenon to which players from other countries are only innocent (or silent) bystanders.Ever since late Hansie Cronje’s nefarious activities were accidentally exposed by the Delhi police in 2000 (Condon’s appointment as ACU chief was a consequence of this), there has been sustained typecasting that the sub-continent is the hub of match-fixing.While the rise of the Asian illegal betting mafia has been well documented and is a fact, the assumption that only players from this region would be largely corrupt is ill-founded: it doesn’t take a degree to understand that greed is independent of race, colour or nationality.advertisementWith cricket boards ranged against each other in a power struggle, or for reasons of dubious national interest, the collective will to fight the menace was lacking and many offenders went scotfree. While a relook at some old cases (as the Delhi police has claimed it will in the Cronje matter) would still be worthwhile, in a broader sense, I think the second aspect of Condon’s revelation – where he mentions domestic cricket as the springboard for corruption – may be more significant in salvaging the future.Condon talks of how corruption is perhaps commonplace in English county cricket. Sharp practices on the county circuit (Imran Khan using a bottle cap to scuff the ball, others like John Lever using vaseline to get extra shine from Essex to Test matches in India) are well known, but Condon says that cheating for money too had crept in via spot-fixing.Domestic cricket in other countries too has not been above suspicions. The early part of this season has been engaged in unraveling the mystery behind Goa captain Swapnil Asnodkar inexplicably declaring his team’s innings in the sixth over when the victory target was 130 from 19. Corruption, it is widely believed, is institutionalised in Pakistan’s domestic cricket. Unsavoury reports have also emerged about problems in Australian cricket.Players who get away by cheating at the domestic level are more likely to be emboldened to do it at the global level too. The flip side is that players who don’t make it to the highest level and miss out on the massive financial rewards, could be tempted into hanky-panky because nobody is watching. The decision by the Australian and Pakistan boards to have an anti-corruption unit monitoring domestic cricket has not come a day too soon. It might not help in eradicating corruption completely. But every little bit helps.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Website