Spot-Fixing at Lords

Written by  //  August 29, 2010  //  Sport  //  2 Comments

A week after having waxed lyrical about the precocity of Mohammad Amir’s talents, it is utterly depressing to report on the spot-fixing claims surrounding the eighteen-year-old and his new ball partner, Mohammad Asif. For the sake of the game that I dearly love, I do hope that these allegations are untrue, but the evidence may well be too damning.

Yesterday, the British tabloid, the News of the World (NOTW) released a report, which stated that London based Mazher Majeed had accepted £150,000 to help uncover an alleged ring of spot-fixing. In video footage posted on the NOTW website, Majeed can be seen taking cash in return for predicting the precise deliveries in which the Pakistani pacers, Amir and Asif, would bowl no-balls in the ongoing Test Match between England and Pakistan at Lords. True to plan, the bowlers overstepped the popping crease on the deliveries as foretold.

I remember thinking to myself even as these no-balls were bowled, that there was something terribly iffy about them. Had it been Umar Gul overstepping the mark, it is quite conceivable that I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid, but Amir and Asif, rarely – if ever – overstep the popping crease. Even more astonishing was the extent by which they overstepped the mark, particularly Amir.

Some element of fixing is, perhaps, prevalent in every sport, but to think that it happens at the highest level of cricket is greatly disenchanting. We’d have been foolish to believe that fixing had been wholly eradicated following the unravelling of the scandals surrounding Hansie Cronje, Mohammad Azharuddin, Salim Malik, and several other less prominent figures. But with the International Cricket Council (ICC) having established an Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), one would have thought that greater checks would have been placed to prevent the occurrence of such incidents at least at the highest level.

The NOTW report though, and the subsequent arrest of Majeed come as an excruciating blow to the ICC and its ACSU. Although players who were found guilty were accorded varying degrees of suspensions, including life-bans, there is a thought that the ICC failed to act satisfactorily in responding to earlier claims of match-fixing. The present controversy however, presents the ICC with a fresh opportunity to act decisively in ridding the game of its evils.

Majeed’s claims that apart from Asif and Amir, the Pakistani captain Salman Butt and vice-captain Kamran Akmal (no stranger to allegations of fixing) are also involved must be thoroughly investigated. The results of such an investigation ought to be openly presented to the public and those found guilty should be dealt with in a strict and unsympathetic manner. It would undoubtedly be a crying shame if Amir and Asif – both phenomenal talents – are banned from the sport that they practice with such panache, but eradicating the game of its ills should be of predominant importance.

2 Comments on "Spot-Fixing at Lords"

  1. Ritam September 2, 2010 at 4:55 pm ·

    I am not sure if banning Asif would be a shame. Undoubtedly a phenomenal talent, in my opinion he is a compulsive offender. He seems to be a person who gets an adrenaline rush from doing the wrong thing – from doping to fixing. Veena Malik’s claims might just add more spice to his already well known antics off the field.
    Amir’s behavior can only be termed foolish. I don’t understand why he should get into this at such an early age. I mean, a smallish amount of money (as compared to a possible IPL sponsorship, Bollywood shows, ads) can make this youngster get into this is shocking. And the best part is that his foot-long no ball comes after the now famous Randiv no-ball which got so much attention.
    Guys, you are on the big screen!! Don’t make a fool of yourself in front of the world.

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