Cricket’s fight against corruption
Sport tugs at the heart in a way no other activity can. Sport, in its intact original form, is unscripted. Athletes win and lose, they laugh and they cry, but they exert themselves at all times.
It is what makes sport distinguished and this is why life bans are essential for any player or official involved in fixing – no questions asked.
Match fixing evokes sadness and disillusionment far greater than the financial implications of the act itself.
Sportsmen come from the same society as everyone else. In fairness, though, they attain fame far greater than people do in almost any other profession.
There has been a lot of sympathy for Mohammad Amir, the young Pakistan fast bowler who was recently released after serving half of his six-month custodial sentence for his part in a match fixing scandal involving former Pakistani captain, Salman Butt and fellow fast bowler Mohammad Asif.
The sympathy is not surprising, when raw youth is thrust onto a public stage and expected to be mature and discerning, the pressure can be immense.
How do match fixers end up in an environment that told them it was okay to do what they did?
Often, like Amir, the air they breathe in their vicinity shapes these kids and as such, the cricketing community must ask itself, what kind of air these youngsters are breathing.
Amir could not have been born corrupt, nor the other cricketers who have been linked to match fixing. Cricketing administrators must focus on the environment around these players.
The fact that four prominent international captains, Mohammad Azharuddin, Saleem Malik, Salman Butt and the late Hansie Cronje, have been found guilty of fixing offences we can no longer have confidence that a captain’s influence will be positive one.
We must therefore assume to enact a match fixing swindle, the captain must be involved.
ICC must continue to explore ways to ensure match fixing is expunged from our game. Ensuring team captains are allies in the fight against fixing; administrators of the game should inform anti-corruption officers that in addition to aggressively following phone and financial records, they should not be afraid to question those who they think are acting suspiciously.
Despite employing a zero-tolerance policy, the administrators should be prepared to make exceptions and invite convicted fixers back into the fold, in a non-playing capacity on one condition.
They are ready to be held up as examples of what not to do. Publicly standing up and admitting their guilt. Speaking about the humbling experience and dissuading other youngsters from treading the same path.
It is somewhat difficult to not feel sorry for Amir, but administrators cannot afford to share these feelings and while the game will continue to produce talent, there won’t be another game – which we all love – if fixing is to continue.
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