Posted on March 30, 2018. Filed under: AUSTRALIA, CRICKET, MATCH FIXING, SOUTH AFRICA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The sentences have been awarded but the debate still continues and opinions are divided over the harshness of the punishment or the leniency shown to the accused. It will take a lot of time for the whole matter to be wiped out from the memories.

The initial reaction to the ball tampering footage on the television screen was one of shock and utter disbelief. It was so because the Aussies always have climbed the moral high horse whenever any rival team or player was found in ‘violation’ of the ‘spirit of the game’. This is notwithstanding the allegations of Mark Waugh and Shane Warne passing some information to a bookie.

Initially, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft talked about making the ball rough using the dust from the pitch picked up by the yellow sticky tape. Smith talked about the decision being taken collectively by the ‘leadership group’.

Then after the enquiry it was found that sandpaper was used to make the ball rougher on one side to help the bowlers take advantage of reverse swing. Or was the intention to make the on-field umpires replace the ball ? I am afraid we are never going to get any answer to either of the questions. Of course, there have been murmurs that the Aussie bowlers got benefit earlier from the replacement ball.

I am appalled by the suggestion that the whole idea was based on stupidity. Cheating is different from stupidity. It is only when the cheat gets caught, that he or she appears to be stupid. Otherwise, when the cheat is successful, the non-cheats are the ones who look and feel stupid. It is the examination season and I want to use the analogy of students who want to cheat using some ‘foreign material’.

As long as the cheat is able to successfully evade the gaze of the invigilators, he or she is successful. Sometimes, this causes frustration for the honest students. But when the dishonest is caught in the act, he or she appears to be extremely stupid while in the first place, the act involves no stupidity. It is all premeditated and calculated. Of course, with the right connections, the dishonest students are able to escape any kind of punishment much to the chagrin of the lesser mortals.

However, there has been a saving grace. When Hansie Cronje the late former captain of South Africa was alleged to be involved in match fixing, the administrators from that country first questioned the competence of Delhi police. As has been the case with corruption, Cronje’s rather affluent background was cited as another proof of his non-involvement. It is a rather old and outdated argument that corruption is the preserve of the poor ! Ali Bacher the then supremo of South African cricket talked about the strong Christian upbringing of Cronje to assert the non-involvement of the captain of South Africa. But Cronje admitted his involvement much to the embarrassment of his backers. Even then the same Christian upbringing was cited as the reason for the owning up the offence.

Thankfully, the Aussies have not used the religious card to justify the cheating and the subsequent admission of guilt. 

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Posted on November 15, 2010. Filed under: CRICINFO, CRICKET, MATCH FIXING, SPOT FIXING | Tags: , , , , |

Sharda Ugra tries to go into the minds of those who are alleged to have been involved in things like ‘match-fixing’ or ‘spot-fixing’ in this great piece in Cricinfo.

She cites people like Mike Brearley and Sandy Gordon to find answers to the question “why” or “what” motivates great sportspersons to take part in acts that are not sportsmanlike.

As an Indian and one who reads, hears about corruption and one who is also a victim of corruption, the reasons for going corrupt or bad are extremely complex.

There is a genuine feeling that when one is in the midst of corrupt people, the temptation to remain clean is extremely hard.Besides, the corrupt ones always try to enlist more members into their club, primarily to gain strength from larger numbers or to reduce the risk of being caught.But this hypothesis does not fit into the cases of sportspersons where most are clean.

It is mostly to do with greed and to nothing with the backgrounds-economic, social or religious. Even as sportspersons, especially, the cricket players of today are highly paid, the temptation to make that extra moolah without having to score runs or take wickets or grasp catches. The moolah is given precisely not to do anything of the above!

Personally, for me there is also a second factor that makes cricket players succumb to the lure of the lucre.There is no strong a deterrent or punishment that would discourage corruption.

There may be commissions and probes which can never conclusively prove the allegations and the whole thing repeats itself.

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