Match fixing to Spot fixing : Hansie Cronje to Mohammad Ashraful

Imagine you are watching a cricket match between Bangladesh and South Africa. Bangladesh requires 6 runs from 6 balls and 1 wicket in hand. Nasir is on the striking end and Dyle Styne is on the bowling end .You fail to be calm. You cannot hold your excitement .You keep your fingers crossed. You don’t know what happen next. Actually no one supposed to know which team will win. But one or someone knows that.  As that cricket appearing on your TV set is no more a sport, but a staged drama. You are going to be a fool. You are going to be deceited as that is a fixed match (or this is match fixing).

History says infamous Chicago White Sox scandal in 1919 was the first match-fixing incident in sport arena. ‘The News on Sunday ‘conducted a research into the 91–years of match-fixing. According to that research some gamblers had bribed several members of the Chicago White Sox team in 1919 to throw the series in favors of their rivals Cincinnati Reds. There were eight members of this team involved in this scam, subsequently banned for life time .Now let’s see what about cricket. During last 10 years 12 cricketers  have been banned.


Mohammad Ashrasful : The falling superstar of Bangladesh.
Image: AP


‘Inside The Boundary Line’ a recent book published by Leadstart Publishing, India, shocks the world by conveying that match fixing in cricket in not a sporadic but a continuous process. The author Atul Kumar won S R Jindal Prize-2011 for crusade against Corruption. He brought to light leakage of 5000 crores of rupees a year in Indian railway procurement. As  per  that book match fixing is happening in all the matches, whether T20 leagues, county cricket, ODI’s or Test cricket; and involves all players  whether the masters or the debutants. The book emphasizing that, without the active or passive involvement of cricket experts, commentators and officials match –fixing in cricket can’t be. From international matches to T20 leagues, the colour of players clothing changed, but the character of betting remained the same. This is first time ever in the history of cricket that such large scale fixing in cricket has been pointed out.

In 1994-95 when an Indian bookmaker offered money to Australian cricketers Mark Waugh and Shane Warne in exchange for weather condition and pitch related information. The episode pale away from public memory as the players being let off due to inconclusive evidence. By using this laxity properly fixer had taken over the reins of cricket by 2000.  

On 7th April 2000 Delhi police intercepted a call between the South African captain and sporting hero Hansie Cronje and a bookie Sanjay Chawla. That was the beginning of a gale storm that would sweep the very heart of international cricket. Then  an inquiry was set up and Cronje admitted to match fixing .He said that he was introduced to Mukesh Gupta ,a bookie ,by Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin.He revealed the name of Salim malik,Ata-ur-Rehman (Pakistan )Mohammad Azharuddin, Manoj Prabhakar and Ajay Jadeja (India)  .Three other South African Cricketers  Herchelle  Gibbs, Henry Williams and Nicky Boje were also the part of the fixing, according to Delhi police. Later in June 2002 Cronje’s flight which was scheduled to Johannesburg to George crashed into Quteniqa Mountains. Cronje exposed the dark side of cricket. His death helped many of his partners escape the law enforce agencies. This death will remain a mystery.

In 2000 Azharuddin was found guilty of match fixing with a bookmaker, Mukesh Gupta. Eventually Azharuddin ,one of the most successful Indian captains ,was banned from playing cricket for life, though he said that he was being wrongly targeted for being a Muslim. After 12 years November 2012 Azharuddin got relief from the Andra Pradesh High Court which held the BCCI action as ‘illegal’ and ‘unsustainable’

Salim Malik played his last Test match in 1999 .He captained Pakistan in South Africa and Zimbabwe before being suspended having been accused of bribery. However he was found innocent .But in May 2000 Qayyam’s enquiry banned him from associating with the game.23rd October 2008 a local court in Lahore has lifted the life ban imposed by PCB.

In 2010 match fixing turned into spot fixing. That year  Mervyn Westfield and Danish Kaneria were accused of spot-fixing during their county stint with Essex.  .’ Spot–fixing ‘refers to illegal activity in a specific part of a game is fixed. For instance something as minor as timing of a no ball or wide delivery in cricket or timing the first throw-in or corner in football. Match fixing, where a whole match is fixed, differs from spot-fixing. Spot fixing is more difficult to detect. It is related with the betting markets of the Indian subcontinent where bets can be placed on individual deliveries in a match. In November 2011 Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Arif were found guilty by a London court on criminal charge relating to spot fixing.

Bangladeshi  off spinner  Shariful Haque was banned for spot fixing in 2012 before BPL. In May 2012 five domestic cricketers Amit Yadav, Mohnish Mishra, Abhinav Bali, TP Sudhinra and Shalabh Srivastava were suspended from cricket for spot fixing by BCCI. In 2013 three IPL cricketers  S Sreesanht, Ankit Chauhan, Ajit Chandila were arrested for spot fixing allegation.

After the completion of BPL second edition in 2013 first superstar of Bangladesh Mohammad Ashraful  gave a confessional statement to Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) about his involvement not only that year’s BPL but also in international matches for his country. On 14 August, 2013 David Richardson, ICC CEO, announced that 9 individuals including 3 foreigners, had been charged with corruption in BPL.