Allegations of match-fixing/spot fixing have once again cast their shadow over the integrity of some cricketers and also the purity of the game.

Privately, many cricketers, both former and current, have many tales to share about instances of match-fixing or spot-fixing. Proving these “claims” as “the truth” in the court of law will never be easy. Just as it would not be possible for many of these angry cricketers to come on record on the contentious subject of match fixing, spot fixing or under-hand payments.

But each time the subject is raised in the media, the doubts only get reinforced in the minds of those following the sport that things are not as clean as they appear. It was one of the reasons why Sachin Tendulkar chucked the job of leading India.

Ever wondered why match-fixing or spot fixing happens? Many believe it is because of the money of the betting world riding on each match or even ball. The stakes are too high for the occurrence to be left to chance. Therefore, chances are that some interested party, on occasions, wields its power or authority of influence the proceedings on the field.

Impact of Television

Until 1997, all the murmurs of possible match-fixing in cricket were dismissed as creation of those jealous of the popularity enjoyed by the game. With television bringing the games to the drawing rooms of the millions of cricket-loving households, the spectre of match-fixing grew with the involvement of the underworld gaining currency.

Many believe that live telecast of the matches, even if involves lesser cricketing nations like Zimbabwe or Kenya, aids betting. Once the bets get bigger, the stakes become higher.

Higher stakes, in turn, lead to the lure of influencing the ‘performers' to get the desired ‘results'. The Pakistan trio of Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif is an example of precocious talent falling prey to the lure of the lucre.

The revelations from the cricket world, whether involving Indians, South Africans or Pakistanis, have established that all is not clean with what was once described as a “Gentlemen's Game”.

Since millions ride on IPL, this “domestic” tournament has not escaped the talk of fixed matches. Too many last-ball finishes, even last-over results, have led to people believing that these are far too frequent to be true.

‘Orchestrated proceedings'

The claims of orchestrated proceedings gain credence when one carefully studies the “thrilling climaxes”. Seasoned bowlers hurling full tosses in their attempts to bowl “yorkers” at the ‘death' have become far too predictable. A close scrutiny is sure to reveal more.

The Board has taken a serious view. According to a former international cricketer, it was time for those in authority to stop looking the other way and address the issue.

“Let those under the cloud of suspicion come clear or face the consequences. It is high time, a fair trial is conducted. If a crime has been committed, a fitting punishment will surely serve as a deterrent,” he said. Time has surely come for a reality check.

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