Controversial Cricket…!!!

(Syed Athar Ali, Karachi)

Cricket is one of the most popular sport all over the world and it is the second most spectator sport after football. Cricket have never been a no stranger game to controversy and being an extremely popular and revered game, it’s bound to attract crime syndicates trying to make profits out of it. Besides gambling and betting, match-fixing has emerged as an incredibly profiting venture for both the players and shady syndicates, that is, until they get caught.

Match-fixing is when players are paid off by gamblers for playing with a pre-determined result in view. This method of playing violates various laws and game rules that may result in fine, jail or partial to complete ban. Over the years many cricketers have been convicted guilty of being in active connection with bookies.

Here we are putting a light to some of the very famous fixing incidents which have damaged the game of concerned countries over the period.

One of the greatest match-fixing scandals in cricket that rocked the international cricket fraternity occurred in the 2000, when Delhi Police revealed that they have recorded shady conversations between Sanjay Chawla and Hansie Cronje. Cronje was a successful and beloved South African cricketer until his involvement with Sanjay Chawla (a well-known member of Indian betting syndicate) came to light. Initially Cronje denied all charges of match-fixing but later during cross-examination, he broke down. At the end Hansie Cronje was banned for lifetime. And in 2002, he died of a plane crash giving rise to theories that Cronje was murdered.

Another shocking incident happened when a brilliant batsman and an accomplished captain of the Indian Cricket Team throughout the 90s, Mohammad Azharuddin was accused of match-fixing in 2000. Hansie Cronje, a South African player accused of Match-Fixing Scandals in Cricket, when confessing his misdeeds informed investigators that it was Azhar who’d introduced him to bookies. Consequently, he was found guilty of fixing 3 ODIs, therefore, was banned for life by both the ICC and the BCCI. Later Azhar had alleged that he was being dragged into a conspiracy because he was Muslim. In 2012, however, the Andhra Pradesh High Court lifted the ban. But still he will be questioned for the rest of his life.

And if we talk about our own beloved homeland Pakistan, one of the greatest fixing incident took place in the history of Pakistan cricket which shook the bricks of Pakistan cricket and the country was put into the shame in the whole world. In 2010, players of Pakistan’s national cricket team were busted by a sting operation by News of the World for taking bribes from a bookmaker named Mazhar Majeed in return of playing no-balls. Three players – Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were condemned guilty and banned by ICC for a period of 5 to 10 years. And in 2011, they were sent to jail for 6 to 32 months in charges of conspiracy and deliberately playing no-ball in Test matches. Recently one of the player involved in this scandal have returned to the international cricket and the rest two of them are also thinking of a comeback as well.

As the inception of T20 cricket have been hugely successful and the spectators are loving this format with the lots of glamour and entertainment in it. And it has given birth to the various cricket leagues which have become very popular. And with the amount of money and richer people involved in these leagues, there are higher chances of fixing in these leagues as well. And similarly, a scandal came out in of the biggest cricket leagues Indian Premier League (IPL). A premier league in a country where cricket is worshiped as a religion is bound to be involved in one of the greatest Match-Fixing Scandals in Cricket. During the 6th season of Indian Premier League the Delhi Police charged three cricketers, Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan and S. Sreesanth of Rajasthan Royals for being involved in spot-fixing. 23 others including bookies, actors, co-owners (like Vindu Dara Singh and Gurunath Meiyappan) were brought under scanner for betting and committing other illegal activities. They were thought to have connections with underworld lords Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel. Lack of coordination among the police departments and unavailability of solid evidences led to release of many people including Sreesanth and Chavan. But after founding guilty all three players were banned and two of the IPL franchises were also banned for two years over match allegations.

Talking about the recent incident, recently three Pakistani players Sharjeel khan, Mohammad Irfan and Khalid Latif have been found guilty for the allegation of match fixing in the second edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) all the three players have been suspended by Pakistan Cricket Board while the investigation completes.

So, the question here arises that why the alleged players are even allowed to represent their countries again? Shouldn’t they be banned for life time because of selling the country over a little amount? The International Cricket Council (ICC) must do something for the betterment of the game otherwise the game will keep getting hurt by these shameful incidents.

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