Match-fixing is a horrible blight on the game of cricket. It is a shameful act that some players commit in order to gain monetary rewards.
It may involve players throwing matches, or altering the result to suit bookmakers. It has been something that has been involved in cricket for a while and needs to be stamped out. Unfortunately, players aren’t getting the message.
Recently, five players in the lucrative Indian Premier League competition have been suspended for match fixing.
Memo to the International Cricket Council- ban these players. Cricketers will never learn if there aren’t harsher penalties for those who fix matches.
I could be really cynical and ask why they needed to do this. But I won’t.
For those who don’t know, the IPL is a money making machine. Players are getting paid upwards of a couple hundred thousands of dollars to play eight weeks of twenty20 cricket.
There are players that many have not heard of who are earning up to $1 million.
The competition had support when it was first introduced in 2008, but that support is dwindling by the minute. The IPL is become a farce and is surrounded by controversy, and this match fixing issue makes the situation worse.
However, this is not the biggest incident of corruption in recent years.
In 2010, one of the biggest match fixing scandals in the history of cricket occurred in England. It has resulted in players receiving prison sentences.
After the Lord’s test match, Mazher Majeed was arrested for bribing Pakistani players to bowl no-balls. Majeed was allegedly paid 150 000 pounds to approach Pakistani players.
England won that game by an innings and 225 runs. It was a dominant performance by the English team. The result was marred by controversy.
I’m not going to lie, but when I saw Pakistan bowling the no-balls, I knew something was odd. It wasn’t your normal no-ball, where a player loses their footing or misjudges their run up. The bowlers foot was a good 50 centremetres from the line and this happened more than once.
Three Pakistani players were arrested and convicted of spot fixing. The captain at the time, Salman Butt was handed a 30 month prison sentence and banned from cricket for ten years. Mohammad Asif was jailed for 12 months, but only served six. Emerging fast bowler Mohammad Amir was banned for cricket for five years with no prison sentence.
The Amir case is such a tragedy for the game of cricket. Amir was an 18 year old kid troubling the English batsman on their surface. He was the shining light in what was an ordinary tour for Pakistan. When the news broke, the cricket world fell silent. A young man was influenced and manipulated to fix a game by his own captain, something which he did because his family was threatened.
Corruption is rife in Pakistan cricket. This is not the first case of claims of match fixing in recent years.
In 2009-10 season, when Pakistan was touring Australia, Pakistan were poised to win the Sydney test match. However, they lost. It was a game that they should have won, but yet Australia were able to bowl Pakistan out and win by 36 runs.
Pakistan needed 176 runs to win the match and they were bowled out for 139 after having a 200 plus run lead in the first innings.
Pakistani wicketkeeper, Kamran Akmal dropped several regulation catches that allowed Mike Hussey to score a match saving century.
No-one has been charged for match fixing in this game, but there are shades of it.
It’s such a shame because if Pakistan loses an easy game, or play a bad session, people are going to think, are the fixing the game?
Back in England, two county players have been found guilty of match fixing. Mervyn Westfield and Danish Kaneria who both played for Essex have been banned. Westfield received a four month prison sentence.
Players are not learning. It is only a minority of players, but it puts the “gentleman’s game” to shame.
England Test Captain Andrew Strauss has told players to come forward if they believe match fixing is occurring.
“There has been an incident…if there has been one incident then there is a fair chance that there have been others” Strauss told the media before England’s tour to the Middle East at the start of the year.
This is a matter that needs to be solved. National Cricket committees such as the ECB and the BCCI need to work along side the ICC to stamp match fixing out.
There needs to be a zero tolerance policy in place. It is the only way to stamp out match fixing in the game. It is an issue that has been plaguing cricket for years. The ICC needs to be firm in it’s approach. If those five IPL players did match fix- ban them. It’s the best message that the ICC can send.