Clean cricket of corrupt practices
The gentleman’s game around the world may have been tainted by a series of corruption scandals ranging from match- to spot-fixing, but the name of Bangladesh in the list of infamy has been a recent addition. While the initial reaction from cricket aficionados was that of shock, it is perhaps natural that the rot entered the game in Bangladesh with cricket manifesting into a multi-million dollar extravaganza, known as the Bangladesh Premier League. The confession of a national player triggered widespread allegations which had resulted in an ICC inquiry, pointing out nine people, including players and officials, for malpractices. The prompt action by the country’s cricket board in link with the ICC to carry a probe deserves praise because unless the culture of fixing is addressed in the beginning, it will become pervasive. Of course, it would be naïve to think that vice in sports is a new phenomenon because, reportedly, fixing of games in the domestic football league has deep roots with occasional calls for investigation when such affairs become too blatant to sweep under the rug.
Whatever the case, since Bangladesh is also among the top ten cricket playing nations how she deals with allegations of corruption would be keenly observed by others. Now that a report has been submitted, a tribunal will follow though there is a nagging feeling that the masterminds may have remained behind the curtain, either by their financial strength or through political clout. So far, the names that have come out do not include any top bosses when it is common sense that unless there was a nod from the high ups, managers would never drop a hint to players to ‘go easy’ in a match. Obviously, if the key persons to bless such immoral behaviour in sports manage to dodge the law the real core of the scourge will remain unscathed. At present, there may be a lot of relief that some names have been put forward for trial and punishment; however, the lessons from the recent investigation will be a cosmetic one since only the surface may have been scratched.
It is also a matter of concern that players, who often have to listen to orders, irrespective of their nature, have to face the brunt of punishment. A former president of the cricket board has suggested a thorough probe into all BPL matches which, despite costs, seems essential if the desire is there to root out rotten cultures from the game for good. Most importantly, the cricket board must provide immunity to players who want to turn whistleblowers on fixing as well as other anomalies.
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