Pakistan’s match fixing act has tarnished the reputation of cricket
Match fixing tarnishes Pakistan's image
Sentenced to imprisonment
Three Pakistani cricket players and a British agent have been sentenced to imprisonment of varying periods by the London’s Southwark Crown Court. Salman Butt (27) was a former Pakistani captain. He has been sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in prison. Mohammad Asif (28), Pakistani bowler has been imprisoned for one year. Mohammad Amir (19), Pakistan bowler has been sentenced to 6 months. Mazhar Majeed (35), a British agent has been sentenced to 2 years and 8 months. The Pakistani players, apart from being sentenced to imprisonment, have also been asked to pay compensation towards prosecution costs. The prosecution cost amounted to 30937 pounds for Butt, 8120 pounds for Asif and 9389 pounds for Amir. The judge pronounced in his judgement that these Pakistani players had damaged the integrity of the great game of cricket.
Jailed for bowling no balls!
The Pakistani players had been jailed for their active part in ‘spot fixing’ during a Test match against England at Lord’s last year. The role of the British agent Mazhar Majeed was to pay the three players for bowling no balls at periodic pre-determined intervals in order to make international gamblers make profits in betting the match result.
Suspected murders because of match fixing
It is not the first time that cricket match fixing has surfaced in cricket world. This devilish act had been going on for at least two to three decades. But this is the first time that a court has sentenced the cricket players to imprisonment on solid evidence. When the former South African captain Hanse Cronje died in a plane crash, it was suspected that the air crash was pre-arranged and in fact it was a murder to silence Cronje, who was threatening everybody to reveal their names in the match fixing scandals. Again, when Bob Woolmer, the former England captain and Pakistani cricket coach died in his hotel room during the T20 World Cup Cricket tournament in West Indies, it was suspected to be a murder. Bob Woolmer was rumoured or suspected to have been involved in match fixing acts, which saw huge money inflow to the players concerned. It was also rumoured that Woolmer’s personal laptop was missing from the scene of murder.
England, Australia and New Zealand come out clean
There has been no rumour or suspicion about England, New Zealand and Australian players in match fixing scandals. Probably the reason could be that the players coming from these two countries are already rich and are professionals, earning huge income through matches and sponsorships. Therefore, they do not want to risk their reputation and careers by involving themselves in match fixing scams. Even in Pakistan team, it is doubtful whether the three players sentenced to imprisonment are the only ones involved in match fixing. Others could also be a part and parcel of this vice, but have escaped because of lack of solid evidence.
What is match fixing?
What is match fixing? Suppose England and Pakistan are playing a test match, say at Lords. Huge betting is done based on the possible result of the match. There is also betting based on runs scored by batsmen, catches held by the fielders, wickets taken by the bowlers, no balls bowled by the bowlers etc. Money amounting to millions of dollars change hands because of the betting. Suppose a big gambler senses that he will gain huge profit if England wins the match. He will approach Pakistani players and offer sizeable money to make sure that Pakistan loses the match. Pakistani cricketers accept this bribery and lose the match deliberately to England.
Old is gold!
In old days, cricket was never a money spinner even though it was a glamorous game. When Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi was the captain of Indian cricket team, test players were played Rs.500 per match. Umpires were paid Rs.50 per match. Most of the cricketers in countries like India, Pakistan and West Indies were poor. There were no man of the match awards, no big rewards and even TV coverage was not there as television had not yet arrived. Once Denis Compton applied for permission from the England cricket authorities for showing his face in an advertisement! Today, the players receive huge sponsorship fees from various corporate entities without seeking permission from anybody.
Cricket is not a game now, but a business enterprise
As money multiplies, players crave for more money. It is like drinking sea water. Once you start drinking salty water, the thirst multiplies and you tend to drink more and more water. The same case applies with huge money. When the players were paid a paltry, they were content and gave their best for their countries. Eknath Solkar was always fielding at forward short leg without any helmet protection, knowing fully well the risk involved to his life. In those days, cricket was a game, not a business enterprise. Players mingled with each other and with their opponents also freely. The game was played in the right way as it should be played. In the absence of TV, radio commentary was quite interesting.
Act of stupidity
Today, money has done a lot of damage to the game. Nobody cares for the reputation of either himself or of his country. Earning money, more money and still more money are the only mottos driving the players to crazy levels. Maybe, the Pakistani players have overdone this and were caught. They could not escape from the clutches of the law. But it is naïve to assume that only these three Pakistani players are involved in this big money racket. There should be many others from various nations in this business of gambling. But others are quite witty and would have used their wisdom to prepare a cover up operation to shield them. To that extent, one can only pity these three players for their stupidity in doing an illegal act so brazenly.
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