Why the rot in cricket continues to raise a stink
One bad over is all it takes for victory or defeat if the plan is put into motion at the behest of someone from thousands of miles away.
Corruption continues to taint cricket since the match-fixing scandal exposed its ugly underbelly two decades ago. The sport has tried to clean up its act but somehow cannot shake off its dark reputation. The infamous D-Company led by smuggler, terrorist and gun-for-hire, Dawood Ibrahim, was blamed for what ailed the game those days. The don and his henchmen continue to rig the cricketing system today. Dirty money changes hands, big bets are made and cricket is the loser. Innovative ways to change the course of a match for a few dollars has seen spot-fixing replace match-fixing. One bad over is all it takes for victory or defeat if the plan is put into motion at the behest of someone from thousands of miles away.
The result is decided off the pitch, fans are fooled, and the culprits, if they manage to get away, laugh all the way to the bank as betting syndicates controlled by underworld flourish unchecked. The filth in cricket first came to light when former South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje and several others were cornered and caught by investigators and the media. Cronje, then considered one of the finest skippers, walked into the hall of shame from the pavilion of greats. He later died in a mysterious plane crash that raised suspicions of a larger cover up. There were more big fish involved, reports said.
Those who survived may be working behind the scenes today. Others like Mohammed Azharuddin returned after their life bans were overturned by courts. The former India skipper joined politics and now holds a seat in the Indian parliament. What a shame! Democracy has a way of providing refuge to rogues while other crooks like S. Sreesanth take the showbiz route to salvation, again after courts overturned his life ban. The crackdown on bad apples in cricket has netted 26 international players till date.
Now the International Cricket Council says five international captains have been approached by criminals who have offered them loads of cash. Administrators have done well to curb criminality but fixing syndicates continue to thrive. The head of the ICC's anti-corruption unit, Alex Marshall, is laying down the rules and cracking down on players who have strayed from the fold. Unless the justice system backs the ICC and cricket boards by enforcing bans, fines and suspensions, the rot in cricket will continue to raise a stink.