Can global cricket duck the latest match-fixing bouncer?
It’s a matter of whether the average cricket fan is so enamoured with the sport, that s/he does not care about it anymore.
The commentators’ oft-quoted line: “In India cricket is a religion,” brings the thought that, religion can blind its followers as well, to bear.
Sports Illustrated India, a leading sports magazine has in its latest issue claimed to expose the "dirt in cricket".
The cover story features conversations with bookies.
The magazine claims that bookies have taken names of Indian cricketers as well but refused to publish those, saying it will share all the material gathered with the International Cricket Council and the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
The magazine said that a senior BCCI official told their reporter how there were serious concerns over unsavoury characters hanging around the players in the second edition of the IPL, that took place in South Africa, and also during the Champions League.
"Several known shady characters based in the Middle East, but not seen in India, flew into South Africa and booked rooms in the players' hotel," the official was quoted as saying by the magazine which hit the stands tomorrow .
"It's not that we are unaware of the situation or the rumours," added an ICC official.
"We also get any number of tip-offs and see which ones seem more serious. There's so much access [to players] that it's difficult to control everything," he added.
What readers think
However, in a poll run last week by this website, it is clear that the average cricket fan is not convinced that cricket is a clean sport.
From a sample size of over 1,000 respondents, 62 per cent said that recent very big matches have raised doubts about whether match-fixing exists today.
While a mere 5 per cent that it does not exist anymore, though it may have at one time, 13 per cent felt the ICC is not doing enough to stamp out the corruption.
While 6 per cent said it was a case of sour grapes when the match-fixing charge was alleged, 14 per cent felt that too many ex-cricketers saying that it does exist has convinced them that it is possible.
The question really is whether crickets fan are going to put pressure on the authorities to clean up the sport or come clean with enough evidence that the malaise of match-fixing does not exist.
This website was inundated with comments in the aftermath of the World Cup final, no less, questioning key decisions made by the Sri Lankan team.
While a former Sri Lankan captain is the latest to threaten to reveal the names of match-fixers, the Sports Illustrated piece can hardly be swept aside.
The magazine is not a tabloid attention-seeker, while its roster boasts award-winning sports journalists.
One can only hope that the future of the sport as regards match-fixing worries the various boards as much as revenue generation and sponsorship deals.
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