September 21, 2010

Anti-Corruption Unit of ICC needs to keep an eye on England players too


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced to have launched an investigation into activities that took place during the third One-Day International between England and Pakistan at The Oval, London, on September 17.

Following the information received by the ICC from a British newspaper and its source, the ICC did act as it believed that a full investigation was warranted.

“A source informed The Sun newspaper that a certain scoring pattern would emerge during certain stages of the match and, broadly speaking, that information appeared to be correct,” ICC Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat, remarked in his statement.

“We therefore feel it is incumbent upon us to launch a full enquiry into this particular game although it is worth pointing out at this stage that we are not stating as fact that anything untoward has occurred. Only in the fullness of the investigation can that be established,” he stated.

“We thank The Sun newspaper for its information and cooperation in this regard and we will work with its staff and sources to ensure the full truth surrounding this match is ascertained,” the ICC chief acknowledged.

“The ICC maintains a zero-tolerance approach to corruption in cricket and, as a matter of course, follows up on all credible information that is received, whatever the source. Any player or official found guilty of an offence will face the full rigour of our robust Anti-Corruption Code so that we can ensure the integrity of the sport is maintained,” he added.

The statement issued by Haroon Logart very clearly suggested that the ICC was alive to the situation and the media reports concerning the sensitive issue were being followed closely.

But I wonder if the Anti-Corruption Unit of ICC is performing its duties to the satisfaction of large number of the cricket enthusiasts spread over the various continents of the world.

It has become increasingly important for the ACU to adopt a proactive approach in order to prevent further damage to what was one understood to be the gentleman’s game. They have to play a significant role in restoring the confidence of the people who have been felt cheated and heart-broken by the numerous off the field events during the past few months in particular.

The ACU of the ICC should be credited for their damage-control measures when the situation was even worse than what is today in the late 1990s and early 2000s with the stories of match-fixing doing the rounds every other day.

Pakistan’s cricketers are currently under the scanner for the obvious reasons but the ACU officials should not lose sight of the fact that the lust for quick bucks can lure players of the other countries too.

England’s cricketers are thorough-bred professionals but they are human beings too. It’s important for the ACU to keep an eye on their activities too because the rewards for under-performing are believed to be phenomenal to say the least.

Fingers are being pointed towards the England players for having fared terribly to lose the third and fourth One-day Internationals after having won the first two. Many people suspect wrongdoings as to how a depleted, demoralized and broken Pakistan team has been allowed to square the series in the unlikeliest of circumstances.


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