Games & Sports

Spot-fixing, match-fixing to continue despite ICC actions

The recent decision on behalf of the International Cricket Council (ICC) to impose bans on the Pakistan trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir has not come as any surprise.

Michael Beloff, Chairman of the ICC Code of Conduct Commission, and his tribunal took their time before finally announcing the decision in Doha on February 5. Obviously they appeared in no hurry in arriving at any decision that would cause any embarrassment for the ICC at any point of time.

It had become quite clear that the authorities had gathered evidence in some form or the other before suspending the three Pakistani cricketers earlier last year. They took their time in framing the charges and didn’t push for any hasty verdict either.

The question in everybody’s mind right now is whether the decision of the ICC to ban Salman, Asif and Aamir for 10, 7 and 5 years respectively will make the game absolutely clean from the malpractices that have ruined the image of the game for the last many year.

Different people have different answers to this but I don’t foresee any change in trend as a result of the recent ICC actions. Those who are into it in a big way will continue doing it because they don’t do it single-handedly or individually. They have the clout and the cover in the corridors of power.

Yes there’s a possibility that the odd adventurous guys planning to do it on their own to make a fortune overnight will be discouraged because they would fear jeopardizing their career if nabbed.

Match-fixing or spot-fixing, even the law-enforcers concede, cannot be eliminated. There are numerous reasons for this. The policing to the extent of monitoring each and every move of the cricketer on and off the field during the course of a match seems practically not possible.

The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) of the ICC has certainly succeeded in containing the number of fixed matches or there was a time in the late 1990s and early 2000s that nearly each and every other game involving certain countries raised a lot of questions.

But we can understand that even the ACU of the ICC has its own limitations. Obviously it can’t track the movement of the all the international cricketers. Neither can it expand its operations beyond certain areas.

Since spot-fixing is even more difficult to detect there’s not much the authorities could do to prevent. But yes they can bring down the number of cases by giving exemplary punishment to those found guilt.

Talking about punishment just as the ICC doesn’t have any mechanism in place to take the umpires to task when they make the most ridiculous of decisions in the field to bring the game to disrepute, I don’t think they have the authority or the will power to question the affiliated members if they appear to be a party.

There have been instances when the fingers have been pointed towards the cricket boards but the ICC has had no option but to close its eyes on such matters. In such a compromising scenario only an idiot can hope for a better future for the game.

Courtesy: SKM Sports

About the author

Syed Khalid Mahmood

Syed Khalid Mahmood has had passion for writing and sports for long. He joined the mainstream journalism in 1987 and his first book was published later the same year. After having studied at the famed institutions like Cadet College Petaro and Delhi College, he graduated in civil engineering from the prestigious NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi, in 1986.

He has earned greater fame and recognition in the field of media being acclaimed as a leading international sports and travel writer, having worked for some of the eminent newspapers like The Frontier Post and The News International besides a brief stint with The Mississauga News.

He has already authored 10 books viz Cricket Fever: A History of Pakistan-India Tours (2008); Mission Caribbean: A Guide to ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 (2007); World Cup 2003: Top of the Charts (2005); Spotlight on World Cup 2003 (2005); World Cup 1999: So Near Yet So Far (2000); Pakistan’s Sports Greats (1997); Pakistan: The Land of World Champions (1995); Pakistan’s Triumph in World Cup 1992 (1993); The Caribbean Challenge: A History of Pakistan-West Indies matches (1989) and Focus on World Cup (1987 and 1994).

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