Column > Trevor Chesterfield

Cricket betting scandal: Where the ICC failed with match-fixing and why

In the ten years since the hasty closing of the King Commission in Cape Town over the Hansie Cronje match-fixing probe, if world cricket chiefs were to be honest, they would admit they have failed the game and spectators as well as sponsors.

For years they patted themselves on their collective backs. As they saw it in July 2000, the ogre of malpractice within the game was over. The commission had in a sense, found a scapegoat in the former South African captain.

As near as could be gauged, the smirking “John’s” of that sordid underworld of bookmakers and criminals had been dealt with. This is a subculture world of drugs, booze, and prostitution: one where there is a sleazy image of players taking bribes from nefarious bookies who have links to criminal elements and Mafia style associates with their tawdry fawning appearances while hanging out in squalid apartments during clandestine visits.

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Woebegone Wayamba: pretentious lightweights

It has become so predictable. Don’t go looking for any reports in a Sri Lanka media outlet or newspaper of what are the woebegone Wayamba Elevens efforts in this year’s Indian Premier League showpiece, the Champions League, in South Africa.

Last week to hide the embarrassment as well as margin of defeat against Chennai Super Kings, Colombo papers published photos of Muttiah Muralitharan taking an amazing one-handed catch for the Chennai side as well as those of Suresh Raina and Murali Vijay after their impressive partnership. The reports were all about praising the IPL champions and barely a mention of how Wayamba were a lightweight punching bag and ended a poor second.

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It is all a dirty ‘media conspiracy’

How interesting it is. First, there is Arjuna Ranatunga aka ‘Cap’n Cool’ shouting “conspiracy” against Sri Lankan and Pakistan teams. Only we can’t read all he has to say of why it is a conspiracy and one that is launched by the media.

This is because there is a power outage for 12-hours, a regular even under the MR regime in this part of the island (I am told) since November 2005 for what is said to be repairs. It suggests there are more repairs needed a square kilometre in this area of ‘paradise’ than the rest of the nation. At least once every four weeks there is a 12-hour blackout for so-called ‘urgent repairs’.

While all readers will not quite get the dysfunctional connection here, when we are finally allowed to switch on again, there is Kumar Sangakkara, aka ‘Cap’n Cavalier’ shouting as it were from the same “conspiracy” page. This is about how the players, and the administrators, are now in need of protection as they are “besieged” by allegations and “conspiracy” theories.

Well now, how intriguing is this claim. He is suggesting it seems the media has become a type of Mafia with Sicilian ‘Cosa Nostra’ aims from which a near faceless non-elected government appointed ad-hoc interim committee and the Sri Lanka team need to be mollycoddled as they cringe in ‘fear of being exposed’.

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Pakistan Cricket: The fibbers off the field

From the time they were exposed as cheats four years ago over the ball tampering issue at The Oval, there has been a growing stench about modern Pakistan cricket -which has developed the habit of eschewing openness and with it, integrity.

That was a moment when Darrell Hair, and the strict and fair umpiring levels employed, were questioned by those who knew they had been fiddling with the ball; then they lied about it to escape being shown up as villains in a dishonest caper, all against the tenets of fair play.

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Marvan slams unprofessional Dilshan

Well now, how will Tillakaratne (Motor-Mouth) Dilshan supporters feel about this turn of events? He has been heavily criticised by a former captain Marvan Atapattu in a Sunday newspaper column headlined “Disgusting” which says it all.

Atapattu explains this by saying how, “The no-ball bowled by Suraj Randiv, could be described in one word: ‘Disgusting’.” How are all those who have all blindly rushed to Dilshan’s defence feel now? A former captain and a fine gentleman and character, stabbed in the back by certain selectors at the 2007 World Cup, then recalled to aid a struggling side months later in Australia, calling a spade by its other name.

“It is not so simply because a youngster bowled such (a delivery),” Atapattu writes. “Remember the younger players look to the seniors for guidance. It is in our (team) culture. It is more evident when the players are on the field. The moment a senior prompts, a youngster would oblige.

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Big-mouth Dilshan escapes lightly over no-ball call issue

Like politicians, players who develop big egos and with it big mouths develop a habit of placing their foot in it when caught in the act.

Tillakaratne Dilshan did it on Monday when urging Suraj Randiv in Sinhala with the comment “oney nam, no-ball ekak danna puluwan" (If you want, you can bowl a no ball) with the fourth delivery of the 35th over to the facing batsman Virender Sehwag.

What a great attitude to adopt towards a fellow player, urging him deliberately go against the spirit of the game and to deliver a no-ball, all designed to deny Sehwag his 13th ODI century after a particularly well structured innings which enabled India to secure a batting bonus point as well as a six-wickets victory.

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