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Out, damned spot!

Submitted by rickeyre on September 20, 2010 - 8:59pm

Pakistan's tour of England is set to stagger across the line to complete everyone's contractual obligations this week. Though it is, inside a further realm of contractual fantasy, actually England's tour of Pakistan being staged in England.

The tour has been damaged by allegations of spot-fixing in the form of deliberate front-foot no-balls intended to defraud bookmakers engaging in the astonishingly greedy practice of spot-betting. For the first time ever, the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit has laid charges against a number of Pakistani international players.

Disturbingly, the alleged scam was revealed, not through ICC procedure nor the labours of Det-Sgt Plod, but via the highly questionable journalistic ethics of Richie Benaud's favourite organ, the News of The World.

Then on Saturday, Murdoch's other Law Unto Itself, the Sun, revealed that there had been "suspicious batting patterns" in the Pakistan innings during the previous day's ODI at The Oval. Nothing that would affect the outcome of the game mind you, for Pakistan won that.

This coming just a couple of days after an obscure Essex player named Mervyn Westfield was arrested and charged with fraud relating to spot-fixing allegations from a 2009 county Pro40 game.

Here is the stuff that conspiracy theorists have wet dreams about. Manipulation of minor events in a game, not to impact on the glory and riches of victory, but to exploit the addiction and avarice of a powerful black market.

This is an international crisis that threatens to undermine completely the credibility of organised cricket. It needs cricket's governing bodies, both national and international, to act decisively and in unison with governments and crime authorities worldwide to eradicate this corruption.

Above all, it needs strong, intelligent, inspirational leadership. And that point, enter Ijaz Butt.

Listen to the Comical Ali of world cricket in this video below: