Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A different ball game

Watching the near-perfect World T20 over the last month, I could not help drawing parallels between my experience of music of different periods and the cricket we have watched through the decades.

The flashing blades, breathtaking fours and sixes, acrobatic catches, and diving, sliding runouts of today can dazzle your eyes, stop your hearts.

Old school as old school can be, you may be a reluctant spectator to start with, but are inexorably drawn by the magic of the twists and turns of the shortest form of the game. 

Once in, there is no way out. You simply must stay up to watch that last over finish, even the post match interviews, so complete has been the power the drama of the show has exercised over you.

Those born in the 21st century or towards the end of the last, do not have much of a basis for comparisons between the past and the present. Could the bowlers of the past, especially spinners, even the great quartet, have survived the onslaught of today's batting powerhouses, with their bludgeoning  bats and innovative shotmaking, they ask. Could they have measured up as fielders, as catchers on the boundary line, as run-stoppers in the ring? 

Were they capable of holding their nerve as death bowlers in the pulsating finishes of T20 cricket?

The questioning is so loud and demanding that you almost succumb to their line of thinking. But then you think of the likes of Garry Sobers, Viv Richards, Brian Lara, Joel Garner, Kapil Dev, Shane Warne, and you remember that the great can adapt to new conditions, new threats, through the application of their genius.

The recent Marathi musical Katyar Kaljat Ghusali is a modern drama with an old theme, just as T20 cricket is a new version of an old game. It is packed with some of the most brilliant songs I have come across in recent times. The music by Shankar-Ehsan-Loy can compare with the best classical or semi-classical music in Indian movies of all time. The purity and range of Shankar Mahadevan's voice, the power of the other voices in the movie, their abundant talent that includes that of national award winner Mahesh Kale, can captivate even a skeptic or musical ignoramus.  To a classical music/old Hindi film music junkie like me, with my healthy respect for the Shankar-Ehsan-Loy trio's ability, it came as no surprise that they produced appropriate background music for the revival of an old Marathi theatre classic, but the overall quality of their original compositions--in addition to some old favourites composed in the distant past by Jitendra Abhisheki--is very high, too.

Listening to the songs from the film on Youtube--I promise I parallelly ordered the audio DVD online--I idly clicked on the video links to their older versions, fully prepared to come across melodramatic theatrics and poor audio and video quality. What I found was mind-blowing. If brilliant acting and wonderful singing in a resonant voice by Chandrakant Limaye was a relatively recent offering of Natyageet, the older rendering by Vasantrao Deshpande set the standard almost impossibly high. Grandson Rahul Deshpande continues to perpetuate the Katyar Kaljat legend.

The Mahadevans and Kales of today are outstanding musicians accompanied by technology that can mask a false note or two in lesser artists; they can cast a spell with their razzmatazz, but know deep down that the old represented by the Deshpandes and Abhishekis is gold. The same is true of a Virat Kohli with his pristine strokeplay: he too knows for all his on-field aggression, that the game is greater than him. If Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle  and Marlon Samuels do not know their illustrious predecessors, then they should. Just as Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar look on approvingly at their successors' explosive talent.

With the onset of the IPL, the action now moves on to an altogether higher pitch, often overloud and hyped up, but a welcome change nonetheless in at least one respect. Sworn rivals will now share locker rooms and dugouts. Snarling could be replaced by bonhomie, at least within if not across teams.

But giants that roamed the earth will be benched by local talent, if not pygmies. Drama queens, some of them bearded, and fashion models dressed to kill will spout cricket wisdom of suspect quality. Superlatives and verbal diarrhoea will flow unchecked. We must suffer the abomination of strategic timeouts while the advertisers persuade us in the worst possible taste.

In a way, the timing of the IPL is unfortunate, at least for those whose appetite for instant cricket has been sated. Its frenetic action may have some, if not many, of the exciting moments of the World T20, but can it equal the enchantment of international competition? 

Can we, the viewing audience, survive the continued invasion of our drawing rooms in the higher temperatures and stickier humidity that must follow?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Match fixing in cricket--and other sport

(Lectures at the Observer Research Foundation, and The Madras Club, both at Chennai)

Some misconceptions

That match fixing is a phenomenon confined to cricket.
That match fixing is of recent origin—if not since the advent of IPL, post 2000 and Hansiegate.
That match fixing in cricket is of Indian origin.
That sub-continent sportspersons are more corrupt than their western counterparts.
Finally, that matches are fixed on a regular basis. (The truth is that in contemporary times, spot fixing rather than match fixing is the general norm).

Match fixing in the distant past

Match fixing has been occurring in many sports, almost since the time competitive sport began.
Gambling took place in cricket as early as the 1700s.
Match fixing probably started in England. Bribing of players and underperformance certainly occurred there in 1700.
 “Butchers, tinkers, gardeners, farm labourers, noblemen, gentlemen and clergy, all were equal under the laws of the game. Villagers, their wives and children, watched together and applauded their favourite team and players, while sporting bets were placed.” 
(The Early History of Cricket by SM Toyne)

Toyne was quoting Trevelyan in his Social History of England.
In the 18th century, every cricket match was played for money. The aristocracy financed the game in order to gamble on it.
Newspapers reported the odds and who won the wager, but did not provide scores.
Matches were played for a crown a head, but after the game became fashionable in the 1740s, betting rose to fantastic sums of 1000 pounds or more.
In one match, bets by spectators and players totaled 20000 pounds.
The laws of the game as first framed in 1744 were drawn up to settle gambling disputes.
In early 19th century, the game was in danger of ruin. It was the chief medium for national gambling.
Bookmakers attended matches, odds were called as the game fluctuated, side bets on individual scores led to bribery and cheating.
One noted player took 100 pounds to lose a match.
“Matches were bought and matches were sold and gentlemen, who meant honestly, lost large sums of money, till the rogues beat themselves at last. Of this roguery, nobody ever suspected me.”
Hundreds of pounds were bet upon all the great matches, and other wagers laid on the scores of the finest players. And that too by men who had a book for every race and every match in the sporting world—men who lived by gambling.”
These are the words of Billy Beldham, a Surrey batsman, quoted in 1851 by the Rev. Pycroft in his book The Cricketer’s Fields, and  rated as late as 1997 named as one of the 100 greatest cricketers of all time by John Woodcock.
According to an anonymous player Pycroft quoted, all the foremost players met at the Green Man and Still, a pub on Oxford Street, London, to drink, bet, play cards and sing.
William Lambert was perhaps the first cricketer to be found guilty of match-fixing and banned from playing at Lord’s for life.
He was described as “one of the most successful cricketers that has as yet appeared.”
Pycroft said “It’s just not cricket” for the first time in The Cricketer’s Fields.
Bookmakers, earlier found sitting under the pavilion were banned from Lord’s.
The game was cleaned up.
Until the 1990s and Hansiegate.
Before we come to corruption in contemporary cricket, let’s take a look at some other sport. First baseball:
Baseball had frequent problems with gamblers influencing the game, until the 1920s when the Black Sox scandal and the resultant merciless crackdown largely put an end to it.


Four players from the Louisville Grays of the National League were found to have thrown games in exchange for bribes from gamblers.
1908 bribery attempt
On the eve of the "playoff" game between the Chicago Cubs and the New York Giants to decide the National League championship, an umpire refused an attempted bribe intended to help the Giants win. The Giants lost to the Cubs, and the matter was kept fairly quiet. It came out the following spring, but the results of the official inquiry were kept secret. However, the Giants' team physician for 1908 was reportedly the culprit and was banned for life.
1914 World Series upset
There was a stunning four-game sweep of the Philadelphia Athletics by the Boston Braves in the 1914 World Series. The Athletics said to be angry at their miserly owner, Connie Mack, did not give the Series their best effort. Mack traded or sold all the stars away from that 1914 team.
1917-1918 suspicions
The manner in which the New York Giants lost to the Chicago White Sox in the 1917 World Series raised suspicions. Within two years, two players Zimmerman and Chase were suspended for life, due to a series of questionable actions and associations.
There were rumours of World Series fixing by members of the Chicago Cubs who lost the 1918 Series.
1919 Black Sox Conspiracy
The 1919 World Series resulted in the notorious Black Sox scandal. Eight players from the Chicago White Sox (nicknamed the Black Sox) were accused of throwing the series against the Cincinnati Reds.
Acquitted of criminal charges as throwing baseball games was technically not a crime, the eight players were banned from organized baseball for life.
It resulted in the appointment of a Commissioner of Baseball who took firm steps to try to rid the game of gambling influence permanently.
The Commissioners since then have been ruthless, even  suspending well-known players for long periods just for having been seen with gamblers.
Match-fixing or throwing in professional tennis is widespread and highly profitable for players, according to a new analysis of the outcomes of games.
It found that players outside the topmost ranks can make large sums from betting against themselves and then feigning injury.
The cheating goes on in the early rounds of less prestigious tournaments where junior players stand to profit far more from betting scams than from winning a match, the study said.
When a player retires because of injury, the match is awarded to his opponent and bookies pay out as if the game had been completed.
The findings are by academics from the Max Planck Research School in Munich and Cambridge University. Tennis has been under the shadow of cheating allegations since a betting scandal five years ago.
Based on examination of 54,000 matches the researchers said that there was ‘strong evidence that such behaviour might be widespread’.
They called for an end to all betting on matches in unimportant tournaments that the players fail to complete.
An October 2003 report said
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International tennis players are deliberately throwing matches for financial gain. It is believed that bets of up to $200,000 have been placed by players, through their coaches and other intermediaries, with internet betting exchanges, resulting in massive payouts.
Most of the players under suspicion are outside the top 100.
The Association of Tennis Professionals recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the British-based company Betfair, which gives the ATP access to its clients' records.
A 2005 report
41 players were suspected of involvement in rigged games by the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. They will be subject to additional monitoring by ATP.
On the list were top-ranked Nikolay Davydenko and Janko Tipsarevic.

A 2008 report

Nikolay Davydenko was cleared following the longest inquiry ever held into match-fixing in tennis.
The 27-year-old Russian lost to Martin Vassallo Arguello at the Polish Open in Sopot last August, retiring injured at 6-2, 3-6, 1-2 in the second round match which attracted nearly $7million (£3.5m) in wagers on Betfair.
The online betting company Betfair took the unprecedented step of voiding all bets because of highly-irregular gambling patterns in the match.
At least 15 male players reported that they had been approached to fix matches and several less-known Italian players were punished for betting on matches, although none of the game's better-known stars were implicated, bar the Russian.
It is believed that since a tough stand was taken by the authorities, questionable activity among players and their associates was substantially reduced.
A new concern emerged of people trying to gain a split-second advantage ahead of television pictures by being at the match.
Two spectators were thrown out of a women’s event in Antwerp for suspicious use of laptops, while another was expelled from the recent tournament in Dubai after being caught giving a commentary via mobile phone.

6 September 2012

David Savic banned
The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirmed the decision of the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) that David Savic be permanently ineligible to participate in any event organised or sanctioned by any tennis governing body.
"CAS has confirmed the decision ... to rule that David Savic be permanently ineligible to participate in any event organised or sanctioned by any tennis governing body," said CAS in a statement.

2 AUGUST 2012
LONDON -- Eight badminton players at the London Olympics were kicked out of competition Wednesday for trying to lose -- a display that drew outrage from fans and organizers who said the women had violated the most sacred stage in sports.
After an unexpected loss by a powerful Chinese doubles team, the eight women appeared to play poorly on purpose to secure a more favorable position in the next phase of the event.
The eight doubles players from China, South Korea and Indonesia were cited by the Badminton World Federation for "conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport."
The 2006 Italian football scandal involved Italy's top professional football leagues, Serie A and Serie B. The scandal was uncovered in May 2006 by Italian police, implicating league champions Juventus, and other major teams including AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, and Reggina when a number of telephone interceptions showed a thick network of relations between team managers and referee organisations. Juventus were the champions of Serie A at the time. The teams were accused of rigging games by selecting favourable referees.
6 JUN 2013
33 people and Serie B club Bari were called to a sports trial before the country's football federation.
The charges include fixing and failing to report fixing for two Serie B matches - Bari-Treviso (0-1) in May 2008 and Salernitana-Bari (3-2) in May 2009.
Among those named were the Bari captain, a former Bari captain, the Torino goalkeeper and an ex-Juventus assistant coach and Bari player.
Most of those named by the federation have also been indicted by a judge in Bari on charges of committing sports fraud.
At least 50 people were arrested in Italy for match-fixing since the middle of 2011, with scores more under investigation by prosecutors in Cremona, Bari and Napoli.
27 February 2013
ZURICH (AP) — FIFA banned 74 more officials and players from world soccer for helping fix matches, this time in Italy and South Korea.
FIFA imposed sanctions on 70 people, including 11 who were banned for life, after a series of cases prosecuted by Italian soccer authorities.
The charges involved "match-fixing (direct involvement or omission to report match-fixing), illegal betting or corrupt organization (association to commit illicit acts)."
Prosecutors in Cremona, Bari and Napoli pieced together a conspiracy they believe was organized from Singapore to bet on rigged Italian soccer games.

Rigging has taken place in Indian cricket for a long time. I have seen a few instances at both the league and the Ranji Trophy levels, though these arrangements between two friendly teams were not based on financial considerations (It was quite another thing that there was no money in cricket then).
I watched at least one Ranji Trophy match in the early 1960s at Corporation Stadium between Madras and Hyderabad, in which suspect declarations took place in both innings, with sub-50 totals in at least one innings. It was apparently an attempt to ensure at least first innings points in a rain-truncated match, rather than share points equally, the case if one innings was not completed. This would of course have worked to the disadvantage of Mysore, the other leading team in the zone. I could not locate the scorecard for this match, though I am pretty sure I have my facts right.
There was no doubt however about a similar game a few years later between Hyderabad and Mysore at Bangalore. Umpire NS Rishi gave a scathing report on the captains of the two sides, but nothing came of it.
There was a similarly dubious match between Hyderabad and Tamil Nadu at Coimbatore in the 1980s, when the two teams were charged with fixing the result of the match. I was particularly upset because my brother Sivaramakrishnan played two outstanding innings in the game on a treacherous wicket, and that performance was devalued by these reports.
Fixing was rampant in the local league, mainly to save a friendly team to avoid relegation to the lower division or help it win the championship. In one game I played, the two team managements had evidently agreed we would give the opponents 2 batting points (the first one when they made 175 and rthe second when they reached 225). My friend Nedumaran and I were bowling when the score stood at 150 something for 7, when the captain walked up to me and asked me to give away some easy runs. When I refused, he tried his luck with Nedu who cursed him with some choice words. The captain had no choice but to toe the line with these disobedient rascals, and we bundled the opponents out under 175. Believe it or not, when we returned to the pavilion we found the scorebook showed 226!
(There were also some comical situations when teams deliberately tried to avoid taking wickets to improve their over rate (the penalty for not maintaining it was a certain number of points) and chaps dropping sitters to ensure that. In a match I played, a normally poor fielder took a tumbling catch when the whole team was shouting at him to drop it).
I also remember another match when a team yielded more than a hundred byes to help the opponents, and actually came out unscathed from an inquiry set up by the association, because there was no way of proving that the extras were deliberately given.
This leads us to the point that fixing is not something that can easily be proved beyond doubt.

Pakistan tour of India 1979-80
Though big money came into cricket only after India won the Prudential World Cup in 1983, the first time financial wrongdoing by a player was reported on Indian soil was during the 1979-80 series between the touring Pakistanis and India.
Asif Iqbal, born in Hyderabad, Deccan, played for Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy before his migration to Pakistan in the 1960s. He led Pakistan in India after Pakistan under the captaincy of Mushtaq Mohammad had thrashed India the previous season in Pakistan.
This was a six-Test series, and at the end of the 5th Test, India was already leading 2-0 in the rubber, leaving no chance for Pakistan to level the series.
Two suspicious things happened during the Calcutta Test. Sunil Gavaskar standing down from captaincy, GR Viswanath was picked to deputise for him. At the toss, GRV was surprised when Asif told him, “You win.What are you doing?” when he in fact believed he had lost the toss.
The second puzzle of the match was Asif’s declaration of the Pakistan first innings at 272 for 4 behind India’s 331 all out.
Though it could be read as a bold move to try and win the match, there was a cloud over the decision.
Rumours were afloat that Asif was involved in betting on the match. I met a man who claimed he was taking a certain sum of money for Asif to Calcutta a couple of days before the Test. I thought it was an empty boast.
Most of the matches involving India and Pakistan played at Sharjah came to be suspect in time. In the end BCCI outlawed Sharjah as a venue where India would take part.
It was in 1997 that Aniruddha Bahal of Outlook came back from India’s tour of South Africa and told his editor Tarun Tejpal, “Forget cricket stories. The big story is that everyone—players, administrators, commentators, journalists, everybody—is betting.All the time.”
Bahal later met Manoj Prabhakar in pursuit of his match-fixing story.
Prabhakar eventually wrote in Outlook that a teammate offered him Rs. 25 lakh to underperform.
Prabhakar also mentioned a match in Sharjah where Indian batsmen  were told to play on in darkness by the management
Prabhakar also spoke of a match at Kanpur in 1994 when he and Nayan Mongia were penalized for batting slowly.
Unfortunately for whistle blower Prabhakar, he was to be penalized by the BCCI after it ordered its own investigation, following Hansie Cronje’s confession before the King Commission of South Africa after Delhi police nailed him.
Here’s the list of Indian players banned or punished by BCCI
Mohd. Azharuddin, Manoj Prabhakar, Ajay Sharma, Ajay Jadeja,
Here’s a complete rundown of the betting/ match fixing timeline:
Australian players Dennis Lillee and Rodney Marsh bet against their own team, backing England at the odds of 500 to one in the Headingley Test. No action was taken against them.
Australian batsman Dean Jones claims to have been offered $50,000 by an Indian to provide information about the team during the Lankan tour.
Allan Border alleges that he was offered £500,000 by Mushtaq Mohammed to lose a Test match against England.
Former Indian team manager, Sunil Dev alleges that some of the Indian players indulged in match fixing and demands a judicial enquiry.
Manoj Prabhakar accuses a fellow Team India player of offering him Rs 25 lakh to throw a match in Sri Lanka in 1994. His revelation leads the BCCI to appoint a commission to look into the allegation.
Pakistan bowler Ata-ur-Rahman accuses Wasim Akram of offering him Rs 3 lakh to bowl badly against New Zealand. As a result of this allegation, Wasim Akram resigns as captain of the Pakistan team.
Rashid Latif accuses Wasim Akram, Salim Malik, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Ijaz Ahmed of fixing matches. He also accuses Salim Malik of fixing matches during Pakistan's twin tour of South Africa and Zimbabwe in 1994-95.
Mark Waugh, Shane Warne and Tim May claim they were offered $50,000 to lose a Test by Salim Malik during their tour to Pakistan in 1994. The Australian cricket board then asks the ICC to appoint a panel to look into the allegations. The PCB in its enquiry implicates three Pakistan players and recommends a ban on Salim Malik.
Shane Warne and Mark Waugh confess to having accepted $11,000 from an Indian bookie to give some information on playing conditions during a tournament played in Sri Lanka in 1994. The Australian cricket board later says that it would impose a hefty fine on Warne and Waugh.
Former England player Chris Lewis says that he was offered £300,000 to persuade England players to lose a match against New Zealand.
April 7, 2000
Delhi police charge Hansie Cronje with fixing South Africa's ODIs against India. Delhi police also reveal that they possess a conversation recorded during the ODI series between India and South Africa in March. They allege that the taped voices were of South African skipper Hansie Cronje and an Indian bookie, Sanjay Chawla. The conversation was about divulging team information and the amount to be paid to Cronje and his team-mates Herschelle Gibbs, Pieter Strydom and Nicky Boje.
April 11, 2000
The South African cricket board sacks Hansie Cronje after he calls Ali Bacher to confess that he was not entirely honest and admitted that to have accepted $10,000 to $15,000 from a London-based bookmaker, for forecasting results, not match-fixing.
April 15, 2000
Now, clouds of match fixing surround England's victory in the Centurion Test, where Cronje took the unexpected step of forfeiting an innings.
April 16, 2000
It is revealed that South Africa nearly accepted a $250,000 to lose an ODI against India in Mumbai in 1996. The players had discussed the offer in three meetings before it was turned down as Jonty Rhodes, Dave Richardson and Andrew Hudson were against it.
May 24, 2000
After a year long enquiry, Justice Qayyum finds Saleem Malik and Ata-ur-Rehman guilty of fixing matches and recommends life bans for the two. The report also says Wasim Akram and Mushtaq Ahmed should not be allowed to captain Pakistan in the future. Today Wasim is a respected commentator and coach while Mushtaq is England’s spin bowling coach.
June 7, 2000
Former South African spinner Pat Symcox alleges that the team was offered around $250,000 to throw an ODI, on the first day of the King Commission hearings.
June 8, 2000
Herschelle Gibbs accuses Hansie Cronje of offering him a bribe to throw a match and tells the King Commission that he had accepted Cronje's offer of $15,000 to score less than 20 runs in an ODI in India.
June 15, 2000
Cronje admits taking money for giving information to bookmakers and asking his team-mates to play badly. But he tells the King Commission that South Africa had never thrown or fixed a match under his captaincy.
June 27, 2000
Former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Paul Condon becomes the International Cricket Council's new anti-corruption investigator.
July 20, 2000
Indian income tax officials raid the homes of top cricket players, including those of then national coach Kapil Dev, former players Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja, Nayan Mongia and Nikhil Chopra.
August 28, 2000
The United Cricket Board of South Africa bans Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams from international cricket for the rest of the year for their involvement in the Cronje scandal.(Henry Williams agreed to give away more than 50 runs in his ten overs, but had to stop after two overs because of injury. He gave 11 runs. He was upset that Cronje who made him underperform did not support him when he was in trouble).
October 11, 2000
Cronje is banned from cricket for life by the United Cricket Board of South Africa as a result of his admission that he received money from bookmakers.
"The UCBSA council hereby intends to ban Hansie Cronje for life from all activities of the UCBSA and its affiliates," says a statement issued by the United Cricket Board of South Africa.
October 31, 2000
Bookmaker MK Gupta names several players including Brian Lara, Dean Jones, Alec Stewart, Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda de Silva, Martin Crowe and Saleem Malik of being involved in match fixing, says a CBI report. The CBI also says that former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin confessed to fixing games with the help of colleagues Ajay Jadeja and Nayan Mongia.
November 27, 2000
BCCI's anti-corruption commissioner K Madhavan finds Mohammad Azharuddin guilty of match-fixing, while Ajay Jadeja, Manoj Prabhakar, Ajay Sharma and former Indian team physio Ali Irani are found guilty of having links with bookies.
December 5, 2000
BCCI bans Azharuddin for life and Ajay Jadeja for five years for their role in match-fixing. Ajay Sharma is also banned from the game for life, while Prabhakar and the Indian team's former physio, Ali Irani, are barred from holding any official post in Indian cricket for five years.
July 11, 2001
Former England wicketkeeper batsman Alec Stewart is cleared of allegations that he took money from a bookmaker in return for providing team and pitch information during England's 1992-93 tour of India.
May 12, 2004
Marvan Atapattu is cleared of match-fixing allegations for lack of evidence by the Sri Lankan Cricket Board.
August 17, 2004
Kenyan player Maurice Odumbe is banned for five years by the Kenyan Cricket Association after he is found guilty of receiving money from bookmakers.
November 7, 2004
Stephen Fleming alleges that he was offered $370,000 during the 1999 World Cup to join a match-fixing syndicate.
May 13, 2008
West Indies player Marlon Samuels is slapped a ban of two years for allegedly passing on information to an Indian bookie during an ODI series in India in 2007.

August 2009

The Australia team's management files a report with the ICC's anti-corruption unit after one of their players says he was approached by a man suspected of links to illegal bookmaking, after Australia's defeat to England at Lord's

May 2010

The Bangladesh captain, Shakib-Al-Hasan, confirms he received an approach, believed to be in March 2008, from an unknown person who Shakib believes wanted him to manipulate the result of a one-day match against Ireland

September 2010

The Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield appears at the City of London magistrates court on charges of spot-fixing relating to the Pro 40 match against Durham in September 2009, in which he bowled four wides and two no-balls

3 November 2011

Pakistan's Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif are incarcerated over no-balls bowled deliberately against England at Lord's in 2010. Their agent, Mazheer Majeed, is jailed for two and a half years

12 January 2012

Westfield pleads guilty to accepting £6,000 to give away runs in the Pro 40 match against Durham and is warned by Judge Anthony Morris at the Old Bailey that he may face a prison sentence
IPL 2012
5 players were banned for spot-fixing or bringing the game into disrepute while gaining pecuniary advantage.
IPL 2013
Three Rajasthan Royals players were arrested for their alleged role in spot-fixing. Sreesanth apparently agreed to bowl an expensive over in the May 9 clash against Kings XI Punjab. The other two Chandila and Chauhan also agreed to act at the behest of bookies, in return for money. BCCI suspended the trio
May 17: Ex-RR player who turned bookie
Amit Singh, one of the bookies arrested a day earlier played for Rajasthan Royals in the earlier seasons. BCCI chief N Srinivasan stated ‘guilty will be punished’. More bookies arrested, this time from Chennai.
May 20: RR suspends contracts
Royals suspended the contracts of Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan. They also filed FIR against the trio for violation of contract. An amount of Rs. 20 lakh was recovered from the house of a relative of Chandila in Haryana. All three arrested cricketers were sent to five-day police custody.
May 21: Bollywood link exposed
Vindu Dara Singh was arrested for his alleged links with bookies.
May 22: BCCI comes into the picture
In the most striking instance of insider involvement in the betting racket, Vindu mentioned the name of BCCI President N. Srinivasan’s son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan, with whom, the actor claimed, he was in ‘frequent touch’. Meanwhile, Vindu admitted that he helped a couple of bookies escape to Dubai.

Extracts from the
Findings of a study entitled
Sports betting and corruption
How to preserve the integrity of sport
Carried out by 
IRIS (Institut de Relations Internationales et Strategiques), University of Salford (Manchester), Praxes Avocats and CCLS (Université de Pékin)

Modus operandi of corruptors in sport
Direct approach or threats of violence by the underworld
Financial corruption by offering money for underperformance
3 referees were approached by Greek delegate to favour Greece in European Basketball Championship in Lithuania in 2011.
German ref. was offered 20000 Euro. Tennis players like Younis El Ayanaoui of Morocco was offered 25000 to lose to young player.
Belgian player Giles Elseneer was offered 100000 euro to lose 1st round Wimbledon.
Another Belgian Dick Norman was similarly offered bribes twice to lose  a match.
Arnaud Clement of France was also offered a bribe. 
Corruption through intermediaries; grooming; honeytraps.
Just as a former Rajasthan Royals  player was an agent for the corruptor in the recent RR spot fixing scandal, several former footballers were involved in the football match-rigging scam that exploded in Italy in May 2011. They contacted the captain or goalkeeper and paid them 400000 euro, which became the official rate for buying a Serie A player.
The grooming of a player can be done gradually through money, gifts, even sexual favours.
Punishing fraud in sport and the law
Generally sports betting is poorly monitored.
Actions like phone-tapping and surveillance of bank data require police and public authorities.
Bodies like FIFA, ICC and ITF hire former policemen to head anbti-match fixing units.
In England, cheating in betting became a criminal offence in 2005. Without that amendment of the law, the Pakistani cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif and Mohammad Amir could not have been awarded prison sentences.
In Turkey a fixer can be imprisoned for 5 to 12 years.
France is trying to legislate similarly.
In Indian law, cheating in betting, i.e., match fixing is not yet a criminal offence.

Standards prohibiting stakeholders from sports betting or communicating sensitive information. Severe disciplinary sanctions are needed. Obligation to report any attempted approach by bookies, or suspicious outsiders.
Raising awareness
Information programme for managers of sports bodies focusing onknowledge of global betting market and the risks connected with them
Programme to educate at grassroots level focusing on methods of approach of corruptors and the risk to your career if you take part in fraud
Knowledge of the dynamism of the market and commercial exploitation of games by betting operators. Close coordination between sports bodies and regulatory authorities
Surveillance during matches, tournaments, especially during matches where the result is not significant
Testing operations to strengthen surveillance and deterrence among referees, players, managers, coaches, umpires.
Integration of resources
Coordination within a unit dedicated to combating fraud in sport attached to the international federation.
Establishment of a network of points of contact or sports betting integrity officers responsible for coordinating action within their organization and linking up with public authorities.
Establishment of protocols to follow in trhe event of an approach or suspicion, both within the sports organization and in conjunction with the authorities
Most important reform
Establishment of a corruption-in-sport monitoring centre.
A central database at an international federation level will facilitate gathering and sharing of information on corruption in sport linked to betting.
The centre can provide quantitative data for suspicious cases and disciplinary or criminal proceedings instituted within sports bodies and countries across the world.
It will be a think tank for creating an agency for the integrity of sport, which will have formal competence and the power of constrant and sanction over the sports movement.
Legalisation of betting
Match fixing may never totally rooted out, legalization of betting will produce a regulated market with proper trails of transactions. Names of bettors,  IP addresses , email ids and phone numbers will be available, enabling prompt investigation of suspicious behavior. Direct contact by punters with players can be prevented thus.

Why do sportsmen cheat?
I have found as a sportsman myself that the average sportsman is different from the average person in mainstream life. He is likely to be self-centred if not selfish, very ambitious, driven. He’s not afraid to take risks, that’s why he’s a competitive sportsman. Sportsmen who are disciplined outside sports as in studies, employment etc. are exceptional, not the norm. Increasingly they come from non-traditional sporting backgrounds, with their education inadequate. Often they grow up believing it is all right to give or accept bribes, dowry, drive on the wrong side of the road, work hard so that you can earn well in life, rather than pursue excellence for the sake of excellence. So if someone is paying me one lakh to play for my team, and someone else offers me 2 lakh to underperform, is it really wrong, especially if I don’t get caught? Maybe that’s how the vulnerable youngster thinks.
I believe education in honesty, commitment to excellence, focus etc. should start young, at home. Parents play a vital role here. Selection of teams from the youngest age-group levels could include psychological testing for qualities like integrity, leadership, mental strength along with testing for skills. With the kind of financial strength the Board has it should be a feasible proposition to extend moral education to all levels of sport.
“Cheating is especially easy to justify when you frame situations to cast yourself as a victim of some kind of unfairness,” said Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, a neurologist at the University of Pennsylvania who has studied the use of prescription drugs to improve intellectual performance. “Then it becomes a matter of evening the score; you’re not cheating, you’re restoring fairness.”

"People have and continue to do what they can get away with," says Andy Barton, a mental performance coach who has worked with numerous elite athletes across football, rugby, Olympic sports and other disciplines.

"In sport there is constant analysis of what others are doing, from using breathing strips to the effect of energy drinks," he says.

"Coaches and analysts become aware of what can change a game, so that can even extend to things like seeing how players go down to win penalties."

"Competitors who are ego orientated [always comparing themselves to others] are prone to unsporting behaviour," he says.

"This is often exasperated by a 'win at all costs' attitude in their sports environment.

"Some people are motivated by external rewards and are more likely to cheat. Others enjoy the sport and self-improvement and that is their motivation."

Finally, is ICC doing enough?
Most of you will agree with me that it is not doing enough. It has not given evidence of its seriousness in uprooting cheating from cricket. World Cup 2011 was a prime example. The semifinal was surrounded by suspicion. Bookie intelligence predicted the outcome of the India-Pakistan encounter with startling precision. Sir Paul Condon, chief of ACSU, who had promised a clean World Cup was not so sure afterwards, but no serious investigation seems to have been instituted into that and other suspect matches in the tournament.

I close with the words of  Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 1 March 2011

 “There will definitely be more rigged matches in future if the world of sport closes its eyes to them, and if we do not have good contact with betting companies and governments. Eventually the credibility of results will be called into question. Sport is based on a hierarchy that derives its social and moral values from the concept of merit. The winner should be the one who has poured the most lawful resources into their preparation or who has worked the hardest. If in future the concept of a champion as a model of excellence becomes tarnished by the manipulation of matches or the corruption of players, then the entire credibility of sport will vanish.
(...) There are already countries where football competitions are no longer credible and where the public has very clearly lost interest in that sport.”