Cricket Fans Stumped After Match Fixing Scandal Emerges

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

After the superb opening day performance of the 18 year old Pakistani bowler, Mohammad Amir, who took six wickets and left England on a dismal 102-7, there seemed no way back for England. Step up Jonathan Trott and Stuart Broad, who with their world record eighth wicket partnership, led England to an emphatic win of an innings and 225 runs. After such an entertaining three days of cricket only those ‘in the know’ could have envisaged the headlines which would cast a shadow not only over the fourth day of a seemingly superb test or indeed the series itself but on the whole game of cricket.

Much of the current furore is centred on 3 ‘no balls’ which, were delivered exactly as promised, to an undercover journalist posing as a member of far east gambling cartel. The ‘no balls’ seemingly innocuous at the time did not quite go unnoticed however, with seasoned commentators exclaiming how blatant they were.

It is though difficult to place significance on a ‘no ball’ in the context of a test match, as although the fielding team incur the penalty of 1 run being awarded to the batting team, and the batting team are also able to have a free shot at the ball, ‘no balls’ are not match winners – as a rule. In a gambling context however, there are very significant gains to be made by being able to predict when a ‘no ball’ is to occur and how frequent they are. This is largely owing to the nature of the game and the rise of spread betting.

It is very important to stress here that sports gambling itself, should not be ‘in the dock’. Regulated, legal bookmakers, in the UK and across Europe have nothing to achieve by the public questioning the integrity of any sport. Rather, in countries where gambling is forbidden like Pakistan or highly restricted such as India, illegal betting rings facilitate corruption and exploit sports fans. We must not forget the role that UK bookmakers and betting exchanges have played in exposing corruption or the long-held agreements (or ‘memorandums of understanding’ as they are officially known), that these organisations have with the governing bodies of all the top sports.

Sports gambling is inevitable and should be as legal, fair and open to scrutiny as possible and it should not be forgotten that thankfully most of us will be living in jurisdictions where this remains the case.

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