A recent documentary by news channel Al Jazeera revealed a strong case of match fixing in several Test matches played in 2016 and 2017. The video titled ‘Cricket’s Match Fixers’ alleged that the Ranchi Test of 2017 between India and Australia and the 2016 Chennai Test between India and England were “session fixed”. The video further claimed that pitches for 2016 Sri Lanka-Australia Test in Galle and 2017 Test between Sri Lanka and India were doctored.
The revelations made in Al Jazeera’s match fixing documentary posed a strong question on fair execution of cricket matches bringing forth the issue of corruption in the game explicitly. As the documentary showed several known professionals in key positions involving openly in fixing, the issue is taking cricket fraternity, especially, those associated with the matches, by storm.
Responding to the documentary, ICC chief executive David Richardson acknowledged that Test cricket is exposed to “high risk” and since vigilance is strict at higher echelons, fixers are targeting junior level personnel in the game, like curators and grounds-men. He, however, consoled that the administrations were always aware of such elements, saying they “know what the problem is” and it is going to be a “constant battle” and the issue will be for “long term”.
Richardson claimed that the bookies and persons in the video were, in fact, responding to the precautions ICC took to prevent corruption in the game. He clearly mentioned that “criminal groups around the world are trying to get in cricket”. Richardson confirmed that ICC officials are scheduled to meet Al Jazeera shortly hoping “level of cooperation would be there”.
On the other hand, Cricket Australia and ECB claimed that Al Jazeera’s match fixing documentary has no “credible evidence”. Also, Joe Root strongly opposed the allegations saying he is “sure it’s nothing”. He stated, ICC are “in charge and if there’s anything to it, they will look into it”. So far, there is no response from BCCI.
Sri Lanka Cricket has already suspended the alleged officials starting a tough investigation of the matter. Tharindu Indika, Assistant Manager of Galle International Stadium, Jeevantha Kulatunga, Provincial coach and Tharindu Mendis, district coach, are suspended. The former cricketers, however, denied the allegations.
Per the Al Jazeera documentary, Aneel Munawar, a member of the “D-Company” informed the undercover reporter about the fix. D-Company is a gang controlled by Dawood Ibrahim, the notorious gangster from Mumbai, and a most wanted criminal.
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