Tag: Match fixing

Cricketers in jail

On 3/11/2011 for the first time cricketers were sent to jail for spot-fixing. Salman Butt was sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment. He was the captain. Mohammad Asif was sentenced to one year imprisonment. Mohammad Amir was sentenced to six months detention. He was 18 years old when he bowled the no ball. Mazhar Majeed the fixer was sentenced to two years and eight months imprisonment.

On earlier occasions cricketers found guilty of match-fixing were banned for life or for some years. There was no imprisonment. In this case it happened in England. Southwark Crown Court in London sentenced the cricketers to jail. The punishment could have been seven years for accepting corrupt payments. The cricketers got off lightly. Other countries can follow England’s example and prosecute cricketers involved in match-fixing or spot-fixing. In India they can be prosecuted for cheating and criminal breach of trust or treason. There is no need for a separate law for match-fixing or spot-fixing. In England the cricketers were prosecuted for conspiracy to cheat and accepting corrupt payments.

Spot-fixing was exposed by News of the World which closed down some months back due to the revulsion caused by its phone-hacking of a dead victim. ICC’s anti-corruption unit did not discover any match-fixing or spot-fixing. Veena Malik had exposed Mohammad Asif’s connection to an Indian bookie and no action was taken.

Jail term will act as a deterrent to cricketers who want to engage in illegal activities. They may not think much about ban for a few years or a life ban but going to jail is not a prospect they relish.

Besides cricketers, umpires and officials also should be investigated for match-fixing or spot-fixing. There have been dubious decisions or wrong decisions. Sometimes officials interfere in the game. The investigation can begin with Jaywant Lele who had predicted India would lose Test series 0-3 in Australia when Sachin Tendulkar was the captain. Either he was a match-fixer or he knew the match-fixers. The argument that it was a coincidence that his prediction came true is not valid. There are no coincidences.

ICC and Pakistan

ICC suspended Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir on 3/10/2010. Pakistan’s High Commissioner in London Wajid Shamsul Hasan said Indian bookies had framed Pakistani cricketers and blamed Sharad Pawar for suspension. Mohammad Asif’s former girlfriend Veena Malik had blamed Indian photographer Dheeraj Dixit for involvement in match-fixing.

Some Pakistanis see conspiracy in the sting operation by News of the World. They should see Pakistan’s record of inexplicable losses over the years. There have been inquires, sometimes action taken against players for sometime, but most of the times players were back in the team. In 1999 Pakistan lost to Bangladesh in World Cup and Wasim Akram said “We are happy to lose to our brothers.”

Geoff Lawson, who was Pakistan’s coach, has mentioned an incident when one Pakistani selector wanted an undeserving player to be in the team because the selector had received a threat that if the player was not in the team the selector’s daughter would be abducted.

Wajid Shamsul Hasan should either mention the names of Indian bookies who framed Pakistani cricketers or retract his statement. Many Pakistanis are in denial and someone said RAW is behind the sting operation. They should ask why Shahid Afridi gave up Test captaincy after one Test in the four Tests series against England. They should watch the recording of Shahid Afridi’s deposition after Australia series.

Some want betting to be legalised in India. They say it is easy to control when it is legal. They are being naive. In England betting is legal and spot-fixing took place in England. Who is watching the bookies? What is the guarantee that those appointed to watch bookies will not accept bribes and keep quiet? ICC’s anti-corruption unit did not unearth any case of match-fixing or spot-fixing. When legalised betting will be more widespread and many more will lose money due to match-fixing or spot-fixing.