Stumped by scandal

By admin
19 November 2010

Luckily the Ashes series is just around the corner.

‘‘That keeps us going because we know it will be clean,’’ England’s cricket captain, Andrew Strauss, said recently after a summer tarnished by claims of spot-fixing by Pakistani players in the Test series against England.

Then Pakistani wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haiderdropped another bombshell. He fled Pakistan for England during the one-day series against SA in Dubai, claiming match-fixers had threatened to kill him if he refused to co-operate.

Even though only Pakistan has attracted attention for corruption in cricket recently, the incidents raise questions about cricket in general.

The reputation of the game will suffer if firm action isn’t taken against any interference by gamblers.

England cricket legend Ian Botham said Pakistan should be banned from cricket until fixing investigations have been completed.

‘‘The general perception in the circles I move in is Pakistan is the place where these things incubate,’’ former SA cricketer Fanie de Villiers says.

‘‘Bookies are clearly still busy and Pakistan are apparently the most easily influenced.’’

Circumstances such as poor payment and players feeling they’re treated unfairly play a big role. ‘‘Some of our top players make millions while many others earn peanuts.’’

‘‘I’m often asked if there is still match-fixing and manipulation in international cricket and I always said increased earnings for players had put paid to the practice. Sadly I’m not sure any more,’’ former SA player and selector Craig Matthews says.

Respected cricket analyst Peter Roebuck says cricket authorities underestimated the power of gambling. Corrupt or chaotic societies (as in Pakistan now) promote institutional weakness and the Pakistan Cricket Board changes along with that country’s government.

There aren’t enough deterrents for fixers and guilty parties are welcomed back into the game too easily, he adds.

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