England captain Alastair Cook has implored the International Cricket Council (ICC) to do more to tackle match-fixing in cricket.
Cook’s comments come in the wake of former New Zealand international Lou Vincent’s claims that he was offered money to fix games several times in his career.
While the Essex and England batsman says he has never been approached personally, it is a topic that hits close to home after he played in the series against Pakistan in 2010 that has now become notorious. Mohammed Amir, Mohammed Asif and former captain Salman Butt were all convicted of spot-fixing as part of a scandal lined up by bookmaker Mazhar Majeed, and Cook also took part in a match for Essex against Durham in 2009, which has now become synonymous with team mate Mervyn Westfield’s deliberate attempts to give away certain amounts of runs per over.
It is impossible to tell the damage such incidents have done to the game’s reputation, and the authorities have taken significant steps in recent years to stamp match-fixing out of the game entirely.
Measures have particularly targeted players’ education after numerous stars admitted they would not know how to deal with the situation were they to be approached by a bookmaker to under-perform in match. Amir’s young age was highlighted following his arrest, amid fears that he had been put under pressure by his captain, Butt.
Nonetheless, Cook told Sky Sports that “we can always raise more awareness and do more education”, as the problem has not gone away. The IPL is often thought to be particularly under threat due to its detachment from the ICC, which makes it difficult to control. Earlier this year, the IPL was embroiled in a row after thirteen names were handed to the Supreme Court in a sealed envelope connected to spot-fixing.
That investigation, however, along with many others of its kind across the world, has been hindered by the fact that the police have often appeared reluctant to get involved in ‘sporting’ matters.
Cook will be hoping his latest statement will draw further attention to the matter, as will his England team mate Ian Bell, who recently called spot-fixing a “cancer”.
Bell fears that while it is mainly a phenomenon of international cricket, there is an increasing risk of it spreading to the county game, as there are simply not enough rules in place to stop it. Bell echoed Cook’s wishes for better education, and also asked why county players are able to use mobile phones and laptops during the game.
The English Cricket Board (ECB) have meanwhile insisted that it is not a major threat to domestic cricket in this country, but will no doubt remain vigilant to tackle its first signs.
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