A fistful of dollars

A man is head over heels in love with his girlfriend. He is a professional cricketer. One day, his girlfriend asks him to meet an old friend of hers. He agrees.

The man is charming, amiable and sincere. He is a professional. He tells him about his girlfriend’s mother who is in desperate need of an operation, or being evicted from her apartment, or has a terminal illness…whatever.

The player loves his girlfriend and will do anything for her. Especially if it only involves his second over going for more than 14 runs. Or being dismissed for less that 10.

That is the more ‘subtle’ approach. The more direct one involves a player being offered a certain amount – $30,000 each, say – for a series of ‘transactions’ on the field. Three or four deals can be struck upon which the bookmaker, or punter, can rely as dead-certain. Millions can be made in a couple of transactions. No wonder there is motive.

The ICC established the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) in the aftermath of the Hansie Cronje scandal in 2000. Their successes, in terms of prosecutions, have been low in numbers but high in after-effects. Last year’s capture and life-banning of three Rajastan Royals players for colluding with bookmakers and spot-fixing had an enormous effect on this year’s IPL players.

The ACU morphed into the Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) a couple of years ago and things looked good. The problem of corruption, for which there is no cure, was at least being tackled seriously. It would take an enormous global effort simply to stunt its growth, never mind diminish it.

Recently, it emerged that that ACSU was going to be “reviewed”. Rumours about the review, from inside, were not good. The ICC issued a release saying it was merely “procedural” and that there was nothing to worry about. ‘Nothing here, Guv.’

Except another well-sourced rumour suggested that the ACSU would, in future, have to report to the ICC’s brand new ‘chairman’, who will preside over the brand new Executive Committee. The Exco will effectively run world cricket from July. Three of the five seats are guaranteed to the recently, self-proclaimed rulers of world cricket, England, Australia and India.

The inaugural chairman, who takes office in July, is N.Srinivasan – the currently suspended president of the BCCI. Suspended because he is currently under investigation by an Indian Supreme Court approved investigation into match-fixing and corruption in last year’s IPL, in which Srinivasan owns a team, the Chennai Super Kings.

It may well be a coincidence. But the review of the ACSU has been prompted by Srinivasan. While he is the subject of an inquiry into corruption.

Now may be a good time for the rest of the game’s leaders to show that they, too, can actually be leaders.

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