Gentleman’s game now a business?

23 June 2020 12:07 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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 The SLC once announced that ICC was investigating three former Lankan players over alleged corruption, but stopped short of naming them

 

  • Mahindananda reiterated that he did not refer to players, but the officials at SLC
  • Match fixing happens as a game is played to a pre-determined result
  • The cricket lovers, including the youngsters, regarded players  as their heroes

 

The writer who took a CTB Bus from Panadura in mid 1970s to witness a one-dayer at SSC [was it against England or WI?] was shocked when a ‘cricketer’ carrying his material bag boded the same bus at Moratuwa. It was Sarath Fernando the national fast-bowler; who paid the fair out of his pocket. No match fees, no contracts, Sarath- who took two wickets in the game- would have taken a return bus home in the evening. Knowing the gentlemen cricketers, no Bookmaker within or outside the Cricket Board would have offered Sarath a lift, to-and-fro. 
Which matters; cricketers, officials, ministers or the crazy cricket?


Former Sports Minister, Mahindananda Aluthgamage,  who was interested in Carrom as well during his tenure in Mahinda Rajapaksa Government, has awakened from an eight-year siesta to reveal to the world that the loss suffered by Sri Lanka against India in 2011 World Cup was due to match-fixing by the officials. Speaking at a TV talk show, the country’s former sports minister said Sri Lanka “sold” the 2011 World Cup final to India. The present State Minister for Renewable Energy and Power had energised a powerful explosive in match-fixing, for the then captain Mahela Jayawardene to promptly respond on twitter, that the minister has ‘commenced the circus’in view of elections. Mahindananda reiterated that he did not refer to players, but the officials at SLC. At the eleventh hour, without consulting the Minister of Sports or the Sri Lanka Cricket Board, four new players had been included as alleged by the former minister. Can the tour management replace four without due consultations? 

 

The allegations  must be seriously investigated into. It is no secret that where Indians are involved games are rigged. India feels Sri Lanka to be a cricketing threat since we beat the at the 1996 World Cup


Match fixing happens as a game is played to a pre-determined result. It not only violates the sports norms, but often the state laws. Players are being approached by bookmakers and bribes are offered to throw the game or provide other information. Fixing happens in both international as well as in domestic cricket. Giving reasons or evidence in support of his claim the ex minister declared, “I did not want to disclose the scheme at the time, the team changed in the last moment without prior consultation, which an Indian newspaper reported well ahead, as they knew about the team change”. It’s not cricket; the effect of their actions on professional cricket make the offences so serious that matches would forever be ruined by the scandal. The image and integrity of what was the insidious effect of their  actions on professional cricket and the followers of it that make the offences so serious.
World Cup-winning skipper Arjuna Ranatunga, turned politician- who was at the commentator’s box in 2011- was the first to make a similar accusation; that was immediately after the surprising loss we suffered in spite of the healthy 274 runs on board batting first. He reiterated the call in 2017. Indian players and authorities vehemently denied any involvement by gambling agents at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai when Sri Lanka lost to India by six wickets. 


“I am not connecting players, but some sections of officials were involved,” the minister said. 


Salman Butt was jailed


Deliberate no-balls at specific stages can be of immense value in betting scams. Salman Butt, former Pakistan cricket captain, was jailed for two and a half years for his role in the plot to bowl no-balls in a Test match against England. Test bowler Mohammad Asif, was sentenced for one year and Mohammad Amir received a six month sentence. Bookie agent Mazhar Majeed served a three-year term. 


The cricket lovers, including the youngsters, regarded players  as their heroes. Sri Lanka in the 2011 Cup were  in a commanding position with star batsman Sachin Tendulkar out for 18. Nine years ago 274 was very hard to chase.


The SLC once announced that ICC was investigating three former Lankan players over alleged corruption, but stopped short of naming them. Every minister who took over the sports portfolio during the past decade had commented severely on Sri Lankan cricket authorities except Dayasiri Jayasekara. Harin Fernando was highly critical too. Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, who was drowned in deep slumber, has suddenly woken up to say, officials purchased car companies after losing the match. Cricket today is involved in many controversies with the betting aspects. Many players have been approached by leading bookmakers and offered bribes worth millions of Dollars to  lose matches, or provide other information.


 Hansie Cronje and India-South Africa scandal


 Delhi Police in 2000, intercepted a telephone conversation between a bookie agent and Hansie Cronje, the South African cricket captain in which they found Cronje had accepted money to throw matches. The South African admitted guilt, and was immediately banned from all forms of cricket.  Mohammed Azharuddin, former Indian captain, Ajay Jadeja; Saleem Malik  of Pakistan  were banned for four years.


Another two South African cricketers, Herschelle Gibbs and Nicky Boje, were named as wanted by the Indian Police for their roles in the scandal. ICC is not run by a set of fools or bribe takers, but by Indians. They would not do anything to upset India. That is why the minister’s allegation was not taken up by them: Mahindananda said, “I wrote to the authorities immediately regarding this matter, yet they failed to act in response”, [or was it because the ICC was in possession of his credentials?]  Some of our cricketers are more interested in places for IPL.  Aluthgamage, who was sitting on this for 9 years, should share the information with cricket enthusiasts, even at this moment. 

 

Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, who was drowned in deep slumber, has suddenly woken up to say, officials purchased car companies after losing the match. Cricket today is involved in many controversies with the betting aspects


  Ministry Secretary K.D.S. Ruwanchandra has told that Sports Minister Dullas Alahapperuma had called for a transparent and impartial investigation under Section 16 of the Prevention of Offences Related to Sports” Act of 2019. The Special Investigations Unit of the Ministry has launched an inquiry into match-fixing allegations made by Aluthgamage through a commission headed by a retired SSP.


The allegations  must be seriously investigated into. It is no secret that where Indians are involved games are rigged. India feels Sri Lanka to be a cricketing threat since we beat the at the 1996 World Cup.


1981 Ashes Series and 1994 SL tour


Forty years ago during the Ashes series, in spite of Australia being hot favourites, when England were following on  at 135-7, Dennis Lillee and Rodney  Marsh placed a bet for an England victory with odds ballooning to 500:1 in favour of Australia. In a remarkable tail-ender effort England won the match following excellent performances from Bob Willis, and Ian Botham.   It was alleged that Lillee and Marsh pocketed £7,500 each on the deal. Australian Cricket Board  fined Shane Warne and Mark Waugh in 1994, for providing information to bookmakers regarding pitch conditions during Australia’s tour of Sri Lanka.   ACB investigators suspected the players collecting $5,000 and $4,000 respectively from the bookmaker.   The players deserved suspension and not just fines. 


(Writer can be contacted at – kksperera1@gmail.com) 

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