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Posted on | September 1, 2010 | 2 Comments
Allegations of corruption in cricket have always been difficult to prove. There have been whispers within the game, some involving huge names, but the leap from allegation to proof has always been difficult. The police might have a good idea of who the bank robbers are, but without the proof the case will never get to court.
We have got to start getting hard evidence and make it stick to cut the cancer of corruption from cricket. Anyone we find who has hurt the game must be made an example of, and banned for life. Should there be some leniency for a young player? – I’m not sure – but there is no doubt that senior players must be involved and that there is tremendous pressure on the youngsters.
After Hansie Cronje, Lord Condon and the Anti-Corruption unit I thought cricket had done a good job – cleaning up the game – banning mobile phones from dressing rooms. But modern cricketers are very well off – they have more than one mobile – when I was in Sri Lanka a few years ago with Darren Gough he had four! When my daughter was at boarding school they had to hand their phone in at bed time – but at 14 they were bright enough to hand in an old one, often without the SIM card, and keep the real one for texting under the bed covers! They were pretty switched on at that age!
I had hoped that match fixing was behind us but these allegations are not just about defrauding bookmakers over spot betting, but include a statement by Mazhar Majeed to the News of the World that it was already agreed to lose two of the upcoming One Day Internationals between England and Pakistan.
Getting the evidence has always been the problem – now we have tapes and video – images of money being counted – all very worrying. But we have the right people on the case – the Metropolitan police – they will not be sweeping evidence under the carpet.
I have good friends in Pakistan – I didn’t just play there, I commentated on television. I like the Pakistani people and like many in cricket we want to help them. They’ve had the problems with terrorism and they are now devastated by enormous floods. We have a warmth towards them but no one will go and play there because of these problems. We in England have hosted their “home” Test matches. Look at Yorkshire – we have lost money hosting Pakistan v Australia at Headingley and now this.
For now they are only allegations, but when Mazhar Majeed said what would happen re no balls, and it did happen, it doesn’t look good. The circumstantial evidence is overwhelming.
If the Pakistan Cricket Board had sorted it out years ago, when match fixing first reared its ugly head, then their team, and cricket, would not be in such a mess now.
The problem with the PCB is when a player is suspended, or banned, some weeks later it is overturned and the player is back playing again. The players know this so suspensions and bans are worthless.
Every mother knows for their child to get the message and understand the rules of the house, if she says something and the child disobeys, then she must carry out the punishment. Too often that does not happen in Pakistani cricket. So this time, the ICC and the PCB have to stop sitting on the fence and follow through with their own lengthy punishments.