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Cricketers look set for bans, but could it have been stopped?

TAGs: cricket, pakistan

Accused bowler Amir

Cricketing scandals don’t come along like buses, they come along like a Boston Red Sox world championship – not very often, but when they do they shake the world to its foundations. This is the state world cricket finds itself in right now – one of bewilderment, not knowing where to turn next. Rounders aren’t even offering a shoulder to cry on.

It’s hard to tell with what emotion the allegations should be met. Not wanting to be harsh to the Pakistanis involved but there’s been allegations before and it’s hardly surprising that a team from the sub-continent are being accused – if only for the disparity in money compared with players from England and Australia in particular.

Sources have claimed in the past that cricketers from these two ‘Western’ nations can expect to earn between £120,000 and £450,000 a year to play for their country, the Australians are believed to earn more than this, not including anything they get for endorsements, IPL contracts, from their counties and so on. From this you can see why match fixing is not usually a problem amongst top-level cricketers from these two nations. A bookmaker would likely have to offer at least £1million to even have a chance. This isn’t the case with Pakistan though.

Their players, especially ones starting a career, will earn a fraction of what their counterparts get. Figures published by the Pakistan Cricket Board suggest that category A players, under contract, will earn around £2,650 per test, £2,280 per one day match, and a mere £950 per 20/20 international. Even with bonuses, which, in their current playing state, Pakistan are unlikely to pick up, they won’t even get close to the amounts being earned elsewhere.

It should also be noted that the bonuses only really apply to batsmen who receive money upon completion of certain milestones such as centuries and double-centuries, but there’s no rewards for excellent bowling figures. Main two accused players – two fast bowlers.

Of course the counter argument from the big wigs at the PCB will be the presence of the IPL, and the big paydays that can be made from that. Maybe if it was an exclusive league for players from Asia then this would be true, but anyone in the world can play there, meaning players from England, Australia, South Africa, and so on can also earn the big money.

The next problem lies with the national governments of each country, and their continued strict frowning upon of gambling, and in particular anything to do with sports or online. You don’t have to look far at all to find examples of Asian gambling rings being busted, and record amounts of arrests being made, but surely this pushes people even further to try it. It’s like a modern Adam and Eve tale, apart from the fact that the governments can easily relent.

Lastly coming to the bookmaker/agent/worst guy in the entire world right now, who offered the players involved a large sum of money and the chance to take part in a little bit of gambling – something not available back home. I’m not condoning what the players have done for a second, merely making the point that when offered around £100,000 in an envelope, and the chance to have a bit fun whilst playing the sport they may well relent. If the betting was legalised back home, and for the rest of the continent, they might make a bit more money from that as well, meaning there will be less of a lure to fix matches.

It’s certain that players will be banned and fined heavily for this, and even banned for life as a result of the scandal, but we’ll never know if a more liberal attitude towards gambling in the countries might have made some difference.

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