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Cricket to enjoy or to use it for gambling

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Cricket is the game that carried Imran Khan to rule this country but now after his one and a half year performance people have started saying that it was better in 1991 that some other country may have won the world cup.

His performance is now creeping in to cricket of Pakistan as well. Bangladesh cricket team is arriving in Pakistan to play 3 T-20, one 1-day and two tests starting from January 24, 2020. Whether this is going to have better impact on game of cricket in Pakistan is yet to be seen.

In 76 years history of Pakistan hockey emerged as a national game but it has vanished altogether now. Football the world best liked game has never taken its roots in Pakistan. The associations of these games have always been used by certain circles for their own benefits that have brought corruption in these games.

Cricket has now remained the only game where people particularly young generations show some interest. However wrong policies of its management, it sometime gives signal that it is also on verge of going down.

Prior to 2010 people were not even aware that cricket can also be used as a game of gambling by spot fixing. In fact Spot-fixing is illegal activity in a sport in which a specific aspect of a game, unrelated to the final result but upon which a betting market exists, is fixed in an attempt to ensure a certain result in a proposition bet; examples include something as minor as timing a no ball or wide delivery in cricket, or timing the first throw-in or corner in association football.

Spot-fixing differs from match fixing, in which the final result of a match is fixed; or point shaving, in which corrupt players (or officials) attempt to limit the margin of victory of the favored team. Spot-fixing is more difficult to detect than match fixing or point shaving.

In case of even football after his retirement the famed footballer Matt Le Tissier admitted that he had bet on the timing of the first throw-in in a match he played for Southampton against Wimbledon in 1995.

Spot fixing in cricket first came to international prominence in the 2010 Pakistan tour of England, when it was determined that Pakistani players Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir intentionally bowled no-balls on specific deliveries as part of a conspiracy involving captain Salman Butt to defraud bookmakers. As a result, Butt was banned for ten years, Asif for seven years and Amir for five years. The matter became a criminal investigation that resulted in custodial sentences for the people involved; in November 2011, Butt was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment, with Asif being imprisoned for one year and Amir jailed for six months.

The Pakistan cricket spot-fixing scandal was a sports scandal centering on certain members of Pakistan’s national cricket team, who were convicted of taking bribes from a bookmaker, Mazhar Majeed, to deliberately underperform at certain pre-arranged moments during a Test match between England and Pakistan at Lord’s, London, in August 2010.

Wajid Shamsul Hasan however the Pakistani High Commissioner to the United Kingdom at that time claimed that the players had been “set up” and were innocent of the charges. He condemned the ICC decision.

Butt subsequently filed an appeal to have his suspension lifted. Asif and Amir followed suit and the ICC announced that a hearing would be held in Qatar on 30 and 31 October.  Their initial appeal against the suspension was rejected on 31 October 2010. Butt and Amir hit out at the ICC saying that, although the ruling went against them, they weren’t informed of the reasons for the decision.

A tribunal to decide the fates of the players was held in January 2011. On 5 February 2011, it was announced that the ICC had banned all three players—Butt for ten years, Asif for seven years and Amir for five years

Pakistani cricketer, Yasir Hameed denied the allegations published in News of the World that he had turned down a bookmaker’s offer of £100,000 to help fix a Test. Hameed had allegedly told the newspaper that “almost every match” was fixed and criticized the players involved.

 In November 2010, wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider left the Pakistani cricket team before their fifth and decisive one-day game against South Africa, and flew from Dubai (where the series was being held) to London’s Heathrow Airport. Haider asked for asylum and claimed that he had been threatened to throw the game. Haider’s Pakistani stipend was suspended by the Pakistani Cricket Board. The board expressed disappointment that Haider had left the team and flown to London instead of reporting the threats to the PCB and the ICC’s anti-corruption unit

Earlier Danish Kaneria was also banned for life. In October 2018, Kaneria finally admits to his involvement in 2009 spot-fixing scandal.

Sharjeel Khan was banned for 5 years in August 2017 for spot-fixing charges in the Pakistan Super League. Apart from Pakistan 4 Indians, 7 South Africans, 1 Kenyan, 1 West Indian, 3 Bangladeshi, 1 from Hongkong, 1 from Newzeland and 1 from Sri Lanka were also banned for spot fixing from international cricket.

On Domestic cricket Naveed Asif from Sussex have been life banned. Sharjeel Khan, Nasir Jamshed, Khalid Latif, Mohammad Irfan and Mohammad Nawaz have also been banned for 5 years on different Spot Fixing cases. In PSL, 11 Indians and 3 South Africans were also banned for spot fixing in domestic cricket.

From all angles spot fixing is a crime but it must be understood that players labeled under spot fixing carry this blame for ever, even if they get acquitted at some point of time.

Now going forward, like Nayya Pakistan cricket has also been proposed to come under six regional organizations with even some monetary benefits for the players registered by these organizations but that would open a gate for another corruption. So in Pakistan’s conditions it is better to continue with institutional structure like PIA team or SBP team or Army team.

To check spot fixing alongwith players whole management of the team should also be made accountable as without links within the team such crime is not possible.

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