Cricket could ill-afford another major controversy. Sadly, though, the reputation of the game has again been besmirched by shocking allegations of corruption.
A sting operation carried out by a British tabloid has implicated seven Pakistani players— including the present captain Salman Butt—over alleged match-fixing, which essentially could mean the players were hand-in-glove with bookies to throw matches.
Mazhar Majeed, a British property dealer and sports agent, has claimed to have rigged the Lord’s Test between England and Pakistan. He also said he had been working with seven players for more than two and a half years, and that they had together made ‘masses and masses of money’.
Since the story broke over the weekend, media outfits have been pulling numerous skeletons out of the closet over one of the sport’s worst-kept secrets. The International Cricket Council Anti-Corruption Unit has decided to study 82 test matches and one-day games played by Pakistan in the period mentioned by Majeed to get to the bottom of this sordid mess.
We can’t expect to stay insulated from the incident here in India though. Allegations of match-fixing have long plagued subcontinent cricket, including recently some league games in the popular Indian Premier League.
All this does nothing for a game that’s becoming a victim of its own spectacular success. India is considered the most influential cricket playing nation because of the huge viewership and sponsorship it amasses. But a packed cricketing schedule (probably aimed at cashing in on this interest), is sadly alienating many of us from a game we’ve grown up loving.
There's so much cricket around these days that it’s often difficult to keep track these days of who’s playing where. In fact, this last weekend when the Pakistani betting scandal erupted, India had just lost a tri-series in Sri Lanka.