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Cricket losing the fight to find cheats

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David Bond | 12:48 UK time, Monday, 31 October 2011

Ever since the Pakistan spot-fixing scandal broke last August, cricket has been coming to terms with the painful reality that it is still vulnerable to corruption.

Today's conclusion of the trial of Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif has not changed that reality. Both men were found guilty of conspiracy to cheat - and conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments.

They and Mohammad Amir - who we now know pleaded guilty to the same charges as his team-mates - were all banned by the International Cricket Council for breaking the governing body's anti-corruption code in February.

What the case has done is remind everyone in the starkest way possible that the sport's current measures for tackling the influence of the gambling industry are inadequate.

Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif

Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif's trial has been prolonged and painful for cricket. Photos: Reuters

Even for a sport which had to deal with the Hansie Cronje fixing affair, the conviction of three Test match players for conspiracy is a new low.

In the decade since the Cronje scandal - where the South African captain was given a life-ban from cricket after admitting taking money to fix certain elements of matches - the terms of the game have changed.

Like the fight against doping, it takes a high-profile case like this to realise just how far behind the authorities are.

This is cricket's Balco (for those who need to refresh their memory here's a good backgrounder). Like that scandal it took a third party - and not anti-doping authorities - to expose what was going on.

In cricket's case it was a legitimate and brilliant piece of investigative journalism which revealed a shameful practice which many in cricket had long suspected.

I spoke to former England captain Michael Vaughan earlier this week and he told me there were games he played in which didn't feel right. Speak to any player or coach in the game and they will probably tell you something similar.

But until the News of the World published their story there was no hard evidence.

Now we have a clear view of how, to borrow the prosecution's description, "shadowy but influential" figures from the betting industry pull cricket's strings.

The numbers involved are enormous. Ravi Sawani, the former head of the ICC's anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU) told the court the industry was worth $50bn (£31bn).

It has all been driven by the growth of satellite television, which allows bookmakers operating in the subcontinent to offer bets on games played anywhere in the world.

The variety of bets are also mind-boggling. Punters are not only offered bets on the timing of no-balls and wides. But there are also brackets - where you gamble on the number of runs scored in a set period of overs - and bets on how many players will wear sunglasses. Vaughan even said he had heard of bets being offered on what type of hat a team captain wears.

In his evidence Sawani added that it was now possible in India to bet on specific incidents - like a no-ball - just 10 seconds before the bowler arrives at the crease.

All these tiny events might seem inconsequential but they are easier to manipulate than the outcome of matches.

Chief Executive of the ICC, Haroon Lorgat, and ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit chairman, Ronnie Flanagan, in September 2010

The ICC must seek to ensure that players are beyond the reach of corrupt agents. Photo: Getty

So how does cricket police this?

England captain Andrew Strauss said recently that the fight against corruption was "woefully under-resourced". A similar sentiment has been voiced by Australia's Shane Watson, who questions whether the sport really wants to get to the bottom of what's going on.

According to the international cricket council's most recent financial report, the governing body spent just $877,000 (£550,000) on the fight against corruption. A spokesman said the final number was actually more than $2m (£1.25m).

Even if it is that higher figure, that is still only 1% of the $200m (£125m) the prosecution said could be wagered on a single Twenty20 match in Mumbai. No wonder the authorities say they need the help of governments and police to try to keep up with the fixers.

In the short term, the ICC's attention will turn to the other Pakistan players named in this trial - Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal and Wahab Riaz. The prosecution claimed there were "deep, deep suspicions" around Riaz and Kamran Akmal in particular but that they were not confident of proving their links to the conspiracy beyond reasonable doubt.

The burden of proof for the ICC is slightly less demanding (in some lesser breaches of the anti-corruption code it is on the balance of probabilities) and they will now request the Crown Prosecution Service file to see if they can bring charges.

The longer term focus for the ICC must be on how to ensure players are beyond the reach of corrupt agents like the man at the centre of this case - Mazhar Majeed.

Better education will help, as will stricter monitoring of players during games. Confiscating mobile phones and laptops during matches clearly doesn't go far enough.

Ultimately this is a problem that has come out of the Indian sub-continent. Pakistan's players are relatively poorly paid, making the temptation from a vast illegal gambling industry in India too alluring for some. Regulating gambling in India would at least be a start.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    The UK legal system has done what it can do to reiterate the problem.

    Even the most well paid players will be tempted but the majority will consider themselves poorly paid and have a relatively short shelf life unless they make it into the IPL shop window of course.

    The Gambling is international and probably in many cases done though offshore companies. So I question what even the Indian govt can do to make a genuine difference.

    The ICC & Boards must set a consistent tone with punishments and with all the money going through their coffers have a well resourced corruption body that is seen to be a genuine deterent to the players.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think, this is just the tip of the iceberg ... but I don't think this will / can be completely eradicated ... Nobody at the helm has will or courage to stop it !

    Its sad but true ...

  • Comment number 3.

    "Even for a sport which had to deal with the Hansie Cronje fixing affair, the conviction of three Test match players for conspiracy is a new low."

    Three people have been caught and punished. How is that a low? Would it have been better to continue in blissful ignorance of any cheating?

    If anything, it is a new high.

  • Comment number 4.

    From the revelations in court, it is clear that many other Pakistani players were involved. The names of the Akmal brothers and Wahab Riaz were mentioned by the prosecution and have been mentioned before. All Pakistani fans know this has been going on for a long time. Its the only explanation for the 'unpredictability' that has defined Pakistan for decades.

    But lets not me naive and lets not be mistaken. Pakistan are NOT the only team involved. Almost 50 billion dollars are bet on cricket in India alone every year - Pakistan dont play enough cricket to generate that amount. Others players are involved, other countries are involved and I hope they all get caught (thats if the ICC and ACSU actually want to catch them????)

  • Comment number 5.

    The cricket authorities and the countries that play and promote the game have it within their wherewithal (laws of the land)to make things too hot for corrupt practices. The iceberg could melt within a few seasons. A corrupt system only thrives when it draws in the powers that be.

    Unfortunately for the trio their trial took place in a country that still has some semblance of justice enforceability. Most other places it is the two extremes; collusion or witch hunt.

  • Comment number 6.

    #4, I'm sad to say I believe you are absolutely correct in thinking the scale of this problem has not yet been uncovered. I believe the toughness of sentences handed to these players is critical, and must stick. Aamir, who was such an exciting prospect, will hopefully serve as a different example with his 5 year ban. Asif and Captain Butt, they should have known better and it will be disgraceful if they ever take to the international field again

  • Comment number 7.

    There is no integrity anywhere. I repeat, THERE IS NO INTEGRITY ANYWHERE.

    Cheating/manipulation/IP theft/unfair competition is prevalent, nay the rule, in literally every walk of life. The only reason no one notices or reports this is that the standard of morality is set by those who perpetrate practices that are justified by competition, but in fact should be disparaged by universal moral standards. In other words, cheating has many faces, and because this particular instance happens to be alien to Western eyes, it is portrayed as evil, and so are those who practice it.

    Human beings are the same everywhere. Players everywhere are greedy. The only reason English players don't cheat is that they have next to no chance of getting away with it. There I said it. To portray these players as cheats is to assign the blame where it does not belong.

    [PS: I'm neither Pakistani, nor English. I don't even belong to any cricket-playing nation.]

  • Comment number 8.

    whilst I accept this may be the tip of the iceberg and that it's vital the cricket authorities make every effort to uncover the identities of any players involved, I am very uncomfortable with the author's decision to name 3 (other) players in connection with this. as far as I'm aware, the akmal brothers and wahab riaz have not been found guilty of anything and have not even been charged. It's very easy to say you're suspicious of someone and cast a cloud over their name, without a burden of proof, but it's unfair to presume someone guilty.

  • Comment number 9.

    It's not often you could describe the News of the World's reporting as a "legitimate and brilliant piece of investigative journalism". but its worth commending the BBC for being able to see the positives as well as the negatives.

  • Comment number 10.

    No sport is immune from the cheats & scams like this. They have got caught and I trust that the court sentence will serve to others that this is what will happen when cheats & scams are found out.

    Cricket would be best served for all if other Countries refused to play Pakistan, after all will the public know they are clean? It ruined cricket for me last year when England played Pakistan and this broke out and I am sure that players will be wondering when they play Pakistan, if at all in the future, what will be at the back of those players minds, will they be thinking; is it a clean match or are we being cheated by them?.............again.

  • Comment number 11.

    As mentioned previously, this is just the start of major criminality going on. As most of the betting is from Asia, we have to suspect that India and Sri Lanka could be fixing as well. I know it may seem extremely knee jerk and harsh, but I believe Pakistan should be suspended from cricket while the police and ICC investigate further the allegations that the Akmal brothers and Wahab Riaz are involved in this as well. Also India and Sri Lanka should be investigated to see if this type of action is common in their Cricket Teams. Those two countries shouldn't be suspended as there is no evidence of wrong doing by them, but Pakistan should as it seems it is deep rooted in their Cricket system, and the next new sensation is probably being paid to spot fix.

  • Comment number 12.

    The ICC and ACSU have turned a blind eye to this problem for a long time. Its only the News of the World investigation that forced them to act.

    Imran Khan was asked about this and he said that match-fixing happening since his time and before. There is the famous incident (narrated by Imran Khan and Javed Miandad) before a final in Sharjah when Miandad rang Imran Khan in the early hours of the morning warning him that some players were planning to throw the match. So just before the match Imran gathered the team and warned them that he would destroy the career and life of anyone he thought was involved.

    So these things have been going on for decades and the authorities have known but they have ignored it. They are the ones who should be in the dock next!

  • Comment number 13.

    The ICC should really look at the IPL lots of strange "moments" during every single match. But will the ICC ever touch the BCCI? Not a million years sadly.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    #13 SimplyZola,

    Can you please provide one example of a 'strange moment' in the IPL? I am extremely intrigued by your sweeping statement and such a claim surely requires evidence to back it up. Thanks

  • Comment number 16.

    #15, The dropped catches. Odd wides. I am sure if you look close enough you will find the same.

  • Comment number 17.

    SimplyZola,

    Again, what you have stated are not specific examples that are considered 'strange'! Dropped catches and odd wides are part and parcel of fielding/bowling under pressure in a T20 game (just look at England cricket team's fielding in ODIs in India or even Raina dropping KP in the T20 at Eden Gardens). What you have described are mistakes under intense pressure and you can pick out mistakes as 'strange moments' in any form of the game involving any nation. But bowling no-balls two-feet in front of the crease in a Test Match is definitely an 'strange moment'. Hence, can you further clarify your comment with any meaningful evidence?

  • Comment number 18.

    To rephrase my earlier comment to avoid implicating people in it i will say that again i agree with what #7 has said and that poor player wages is partly to blame.

    In my opinion, the test match between Aus and Pak where the Aussies pulled off a remarkable victory is the only one i have ever felt doubt about the legitimacy of the result, not to say that this doubt is true, only that it is there.

  • Comment number 19.

    Who really cares? As someone has already mentioned other pakistan players were mentioned in the hearing, let them bowl no balls, wides etc. They are letting down their team mates and their fans. If they want to throw a game/test let them, it's only going to affect their rankings which in turn would jeopardise their place in the team.

  • Comment number 20.

    One sollution...


    Ban Pakistan from playing international cricket for five years. This would send out a signal to players of other nationalities that if they get caught they would be SERIOUSLY letting their country down.

  • Comment number 21.

    Sadly I agree with a few above that this is indeed the tip of the iceberg...a very large iceberg!No doubt in my mind that every nation (including mine!) has players who have,currently are or would be willing to if approached, cash in while they "can"...why? I think sometimes we all get a bit misty about the past & the notion of "fair play" in sport when in reality, for cricket in this case,as soon as the Packer circus hit with WSC in the 70's & the one day game took off,cricket became a business,not a sport as such and here we are,people are trying to maximise earnings in their career,one way or another just like any big developer or politician with the right "connections" "greasing" the wheels of business/government in their field.....human condition i'm afraid,its everywhere.............next you'll be telling me none of you have ever given a tradie cash for fixing the kitchen before lamenting the rising cost of living/problems with unpaid taxes etc etc causing us all to fork out more for services over dinner the week after.....Imagine if your on 30K as a joiner with a family to feed and get offered a one off 100K cash (tax free of course!) to build a yet to be approved extension for a less than honest locally well known developer(itll be fine mate,wink wink,what do you say?)..............would you? hmmm i know a few that would! youd pat them on the back too if they got away with it.....sad?yes..true? i think so at least...

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    The match #18 refers to (which had the 120 runs for 9th wicket) is always going to be the one under scrutiny, especially with field settings used. However any England fan can tell you the Aussies are never beaten, we still have nightmares about the 550 and losing, and them almost winning at Egbaston/Trent Bridge that time.

  • Comment number 24.

    #23
    As an england i am aware of how the aussies never give up hope of victory and how we never give up fear of defeat!

    Without wanting to say too much as i have been pulled up once already for this it was strange the sense of inevitability that surrounded the failed chase in the 4th innings, whether that was just the aussies aura i don't you but Nathan Hauritz is certianly no Shane Warne.

  • Comment number 25.

    While I am all for finding a solution for this problem, how do you stop a player from fixing a bet on what hat he will wear, or how many players will wear sunglasses?

  • Comment number 26.

    Say it ain't so, Mo'

  • Comment number 27.

    I hope the assertion that the NoW "sting" constituted a "legitimate and brilliant piece of investigative journalism" is based upon evidence that the NoW had legitimate grounds for believing Pakistani cricketers were engaged in match fixing before they launched their operation. If this view is based purely on the hindsight supplied by today's decision (and the sudden post facto out-pouring of unsubstantiated suspicions by various ex-cricketers) then as deserving of punishment as these players surely are, the NoW "investigation" is yet another example of its morally questionable practical jokes masquerading as investigative journalism. On this occasion the end probably justifies the means, but I for one will still not be sorry that the demise of the NoW has also hopefully brought to an end the use of what is essentially entrapment as a means of generating a story and often times a completely synthetic one at that (those involving Sven and the Duchess of York being prime examples)!

    By the way - let's all hope the publicity generated by this case raises awareness amongst those (i.e. the naive and ill informed) likely to lose money when placing or taking bets on pre-determined outcomes. By destroying demand in this way hopefully the market that supports match / spot fixing will shrink to a level that makes the risks of such activity for the perpetrators far greater than the potential financial benefits. I suspect this may be a quicker and easier way of resolving the problem than trying to attack it on the supply side.

  • Comment number 28.

    I love Cricket and think at it's best it is far and away the sport with the widest spectrum of shades--- and this is a bad story for cricket but we shouldn't forget in all the media stories now running that 'all the perpatrators should be investigated', that if this is good for cricket then what about other sports, say football?

    I can remember not that many years ago when almost every football game had a mad pass throw-in in the first 10 seconds and many an inexplicable absent minded back pass flying out for a corner almost as quickly.

    Obviously while all incidents in cricket must be under investigation, these in football must merely be the result of adrenaline and tension in highly tuned athletes I suppose.

    The oft mentioned 'intentional' bookings (to get a yellow card out of the way) although commented on knowingly by pros, presumably also never became the subject of Far East illegal betting syndicate interest or knowledge.

    Or in regards to some of 'bum of the week' fights in boxing where favoured prospects are ushered towards the real deals via disposing of some hand picked nonentities, I presume the rewards for these unheard of journeymen and their managers are always invariably so large as to prevent any calculation or consideration whatsoever of possibly greater rewards available for any slight active management of the precise moment of their descent to the canvas.

    I was finally going to mention Horse Racing but am unable to think of any potential misdeeds that could be attributed to the undue influence of betting, whether legal or otherwise....

    Of course I do not want to try and belittle the seriousness of the charges against Cricket, the Pakistanis or anyone involved, nor do I condone it or take it lightly; sport slightly compromised in this way cis sport completely destroyed....... BUT before too many blustering journalists and pundits rush to climb on their high horses they want to be sure there are some in the field to climb upon.....

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    I have a work colleague who admits he is ashamed to be a Pakistani because the country and the people themselves get things done through corruption and have no moral or ethics.

    Imran Khan has said it enough times the cricket board is weak which then makes it easy for these things to happen

  • Comment number 31.

    As a Pakistani, it makes my blood boil to have apologists ascribe all of the failings of Pakistani elite sportsmen (of whom all but a handful are cricketers) to some form of foreign influence. They are adults, they are greedy, they got caught, they should go to jail. End of.

    However, it would be naive to assume that this problem is limited to just one of the test playing nations. Recent match fixing and betting scandals in well-regulated sports and nations (I can remember one from british horse racing earlier this year, and others in Italian and German football) suggest how pervasive the problem may be in countries where sports betting is illegal and hence controlled by organised crime.

    Throw in the "fancy fixing" element that seems to be there in cricket betting, particularly betting originating from India as the largest market for both cricket and on wagers theeof, and it is clear that better policing would probably throw up many more incidents that bear investigation.

    20-over cricket is by its nature the most vulnerable, and as club-style T20 cricket develops, it is in the interest of the cricket regulators to ensure that there is no whiff of malfeasance associated with it. However, since the colour of money is the same everywhere, there is a risk that this may kick up a larger scandal. Are the powers that be willing to take that risk? I think on that one the jury is still out.

  • Comment number 32.

    Mansoree
    @31

    Good post mate. An illegal betting industry ensures that 'fixing' will exist in any sport as you state. With a regulated industry, for example the UK, it is not in the interest of the industry to have 'fixing' in any sport involving gaming. The fact is the leading bookmakers in the UK are actually leaders in ensuring sports remain clean of fixing. They work closely with the authorities and the police when fixing is suspected via betting patterns.

    Over the years all sports have thrown up irregular betting patterns, which have immediately been investigated and passed on to the proper authorities. Football in Scotland and eastern Europe has come under close scrutiny, snooker and racing are other examples. Legal gaming companies have led the way to keep sport clean. They manage it in many ways, from simply refusing to lay prices on events to reducing the liability.

    There is nothing wrong with legal gaming on sport, it can add to the enjoyment of sport for many people but illegal gaming is and always will bring corruption.

    Overall it is a sad day for not only cricket but sport in general.

  • Comment number 33.

    I think if the IPL is recognised by ICC - they should set up monitors and checks to manage gambling there - as it is well known that most scams and betting syndicates operate from that tournament.

  • Comment number 34.

    @33

    It is impossible to monitor and eradicate illegal gambling in these situations. In the UK before high street betting was legal, as soon as one illegal operation was shut down another had sprung up. Cricket may actually benefit from legal gaming in the region, as I posted before, legal gaming companies do more than most to highlight and stop fixing, simply because it is not in their interest to have match fixing.

  • Comment number 35.

    Greed Im afraid transcends all barriers,these men have been caught,how many have not been caught? There is little you can do about it. You cannot ban betting and you cannot monitor every betting transaction on the planet. The only possible answer is to throw the book at those who are caught in the hope of dissuading others but with the sums of money which can be made from cheating far outweighing the sums that can be made from persuing ones sport honestly (especially in sports such as cricket) dissuading young men from cheating will be difficult. However I think that punishing a whole nation would certainly deter some. Were Pakistan now banned from all cricket for four years the men responsible would be villified forevermore,thats a much bigger punishment than any jail term but only the ICC has the power to impose such a measure.

  • Comment number 36.

    Anyone who thinks this is a purely Pakistani problem should look at each team's second innings in the Nagpur test three years ago between India and Australia.....

    Having said that, the exclusion of Pakistani players from the IPL leaves them especially vulnerable to corruption. But in a country where the President is universally known as Mr Ten Percent, what else should we expect?

  • Comment number 37.

    Corruption is sadly everywhere, but the rampant corruption of countries like Pakistan and India (before the Indian fans kick off, it's a documented fact that everyone is looking for a kick back for services, even doctors), and also Greece (Football scandal), for example lead to these large scale fixings. I haven't even started on the Asian markets.

    To eradicate it would involve inducing a shift in the collective mindset of a billion people, not an easy thing to do sadly.

  • Comment number 38.

    This is about greed and not only from the players but we need to look at ourselves and the gaming industry really needs to look at itself.
    Why on earth would you need to bet on a no ball being delivered?
    The whole in play betting market is rife for this kind of scam.

  • Comment number 39.

    I think this scandal is about as exciting as cricket has ever been. Will raise the image of the sport from it dull, pathetic, waste of time sport that it currently is :)

  • Comment number 40.

    What a pointless comment no.39 is.

    Is it not possible to ban spot betting - I am not saying ban all betting on cricket by any means but surely whether the next ball will be a wide/no-ball is too manipulatable and hence there must be good reason to ban that particular line of betting. Is there a precident?

  • Comment number 41.

    is it really that big a deal?, All sport would be better without this sort of thing but they've hardly changed the result of a game have they? OK they gave away a few extra runs, but who other than the illegal bookies, and their punters were seriously damaged in this

  • Comment number 42.

    If you take a look at what was going on in the 1990's, some of Pakistans major superstars were accused of fixing matches let alone spot fixing.

    If you refer to the Justice Qayyum inquiry, and read some of the statements by the former players themselves, alarm bells ring at what some of the greats of Pakistan of cricket had been accused of.

    A Pakistani judge had fined the likes of Wasim Akram, Inzimam and had banned Salim Malik for life.

    I feel if we dealt with the problem of match fixing in the 90's, Pakistan cricket would not be in the sorry state it is now.

    Its no surprise that corruption still exists in Pakistan cricket as we never dealt with the problem earlier.

  • Comment number 43.

    Yesterday was a low for all cricket lovers out there who love the game with a passion and hate cheat, of any kind.

    The positives were the players were caught and Cricket nation like Pakistan was shamed and embarassed again. Surely the time has come for long term expulsion.

    On a positive note at Cricket and those sport who have problems with cheats, including Cycling and Athletics are making a concerted attempt to erradicate the problem.

    It is a shame that other sports like Football, that allows cheating as a standard requirement, do not show the same ruthless appraoch.

  • Comment number 44.

    It's safe to say that the Pakistan team that toured England last year was rotten to the core. Even the Pak ambassador to the Uk was lying through his teeth despite having the evidence. The whole of the Pak Cricket association needs to be suspended until it cleans up its act. In fact pakistan as a country needs to take steps to be a normal country, what with terrorists running wild in the country attacking their neighbours and the west, complete hatred towards people of minority religions. It seriously needs to clean up its act. Therre seems to be a complete lack of morality and respect for the rest of the world.

  • Comment number 45.

    Tony Torrance

    Having heard what has come out of court at the sentencing of the (now) 4 defendants, it is clear that the evidence heard during the trail is only the tip of the iceberg.
    It is clear from this evidence that elements of the Pakistan team appear to have been involved in fixing since at least early 2009.
    It is also clear that at least one of the main 'fixers' has not been prosecuted in this trial and therefore remains within the Pakistan team.
    I am afraid that we may not yet have seen the low-point in this troubling and unhappy affair.

  • Comment number 46.

    Most sports suffer from illegal betting and related illegal activities. Cricket has, football has (Germany, Greece, Italy where Juventus were relegated for not so kosher practices, in which some of the other big teams were also implicated). Snooker and chess have. I am sure cycling has its share of dubious betting practices as well, though the dope gets most of the attention.

    At least cricket has moved to the 21st century. It actually allows video evidence to arrive at the correct decisions during the game. Football is still stuck in the 19th century.
    The most lucrative sport on the planet does not even have full-time professional referees. Referees are extremely vulnerable. The referee is always right, even if the whole world, including the ref himself, can see he is wrong. After all, France made it to South Africa, and Ireland did not. A lot of decisions are subjective, due to the nature of the rules. How many red card offenses have we seen resulted in only a yellow or no booking at all? How many non-fouls have resulted in straight reds? And then there is honest oversight. You can't expect a referee to see everything. This gives a ref a huge freedom in potentially fixing matches, more so than the players, without it even attracting much suspicion. The only thing that will be said is that the ref 'had a bad game', but the result WILL stand.
    It does not help that Fifa is adamant in its refusal to use video evidence; might there be some vested interest? EPL is massive in Asia, and to assume that football has even started to address the issue of corruption, bribery etc., seems wishful thinking.

    Corruption is rife in the majority of Test playing nations. Three cricketers got caught, but I am sure there are many out there that earn money on the side. And who says that it is all about money? Money can be traced. There are other illegal ways in which a player can be put under pressure to perform to a certain standard, and a certain standard only.

    Since no sport can transform a society as a whole, the best bet would be to legalize gambling over the world.

  • Comment number 47.

    @44,
    Different people, different perspectives. There is always more than meets the eye.
    Pakistan's ODI team has been captained by a Christian in the recent past. Can the same be said for England with regards to a Muslim captain? Not yet. Earlier this year it was hailed as a breakthrough when it happened to a county side (Moeen Ali).

    I could go off on a tangent, but the blog is on cricket. No need to argue how British politics has / may have / has not contributed to terrorism in Pakistan.

    Just because a view is spoonfed to us does not mean it is right.

  • Comment number 48.

    @47 Triplewicketmaiden
    Hey mate you need to wake up to reality. that Christian who led the pak team was pressurised into converting to Islam, the only Hindu in the team Kaneria has been treated shabbily. Little to no opportunities for minorities. The country is becoming a 'fascist' and bigoted state. What i am trying to point out is that the state of the cricket team is a result of the direction the country is taking. I'm definitley right about the terrorism, no cricket team will tour there as a result.

  • Comment number 49.

    Perhaps I am missing something, but I don't actually understand how the fixes work. After all, why would an illegal bookmaker accept huge bets on matters like when no-balls will be bowled which are so susceptible to rigging. If someone wants to bet a fortune that three no balls will be bowled on specific deliveries it must be obvious they have inside information - so why take the bet? Or if the bet is spread over dozens of bookies, then there must be many people in the know, so why can't the police infiltrate them? It is said that organised crime is behind the Asian bookmaking industry and hence the fixing - but surely the bookies are the victims of fixing?

  • Comment number 50.

    *** Role of Paksitan's High Commisioner **** When he news was first announced, he said he had proof that Australians andthe English teams were involved.
    At the height of terrosit attack in Mumbai, he had proof that it was planned and executed within India.
    Can we please have some comments fro him now?

  • Comment number 51.

    @48

    Would he have made the team if he was all rubbish? Uh, no. Would he have averaged 45+ up to that point, if he was all that bad? Would he have played 55 Tests in less than 7 years, out of the 62 Pakistan played since his debut to 2005 if he was a token representative?

    A Pakistani can make the same argument for say Panesar. Not Christian and treated quite shabbily as well. Let's see how he does. 39 Tests, out of 45 in the period between initial selection and his last Test, over two years ago. That is a smaller percentage.
    Going by the simple numbers you should argue that Panesar has been treated appalingly by England, and that he should convert to Christianity to reignite his Test career. He has not tried it, but who knows!

    Only if you classify South Africans as a minority in England, then minorities in England do get more opportunities than in Pakistan. Only 14 Welsh-born players have played Test cricket for England. Quite an achievement over more than 130 years! Out of the 650 that have represented England in Tests, that is a massive percentage.

    As I said, I have no interests in discussing politics. Believe what you will, if it makes you happy. It does not necessarily make you right.

  • Comment number 52.

    Pakistan should be banned from playing international cricket indefinitely. To think that this match fixing incident was an isolated incident or that these three players were the only ones involved is naive. Pakistan as a whole is a corrupt failed state where everyone from the gate keeper at a local clinic (to allow entry to get medical attention) to Mr. 10% (more like Mr. 110%) at the top of the food (corruption) chain believe that taking bribes and cheating are their god given rights. Bribery and cheating are so entrenched in a Pakistani’s way of life that, no matter what methods the ICC or any international body tries to implement, they will always find a way around it. This case is not similar to Hansie Cronje’s where you had one bad seed; all the seeds here are bad. IMHO - Pakistan needs to be banned from playing international cricket indefinitely.

  • Comment number 53.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]For some reason i'm reminded of controversy surrounding Bruce Grobbelaar; to me it was very funny that a High Court judge was required to watch replays and say to himself, effectively;

    "He definitely should have saved that(!)"

    Corruption in sport is pretty disastrous, obviously. Glancing at the last post, I flatly disagree with the idea that Pakistan should be "banned from international cricket indefinitely". Cricket can't afford to be so high-and-mighty as to consider banning any of the established playing nations on the grounds of individual players' behaviour.

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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