ICC, ECB and CA Face Insidious Allegations

On the one hand, ball tampering has taken on proportions in public perception previously unimagined. On the other hand, fixing is a problem larger than the International Cricket Council (ICC) would lead us to believe if the public statement by an international news agency is anything to go by. What is even more grievous is the insinuation that it now throws on the other cricket boards.

The focus should have always been on the game, on the action in the middle. Yet it appears in a world when the actions of the cricketers are far from meritorious, where the image of the sports has been presented as anything but squeaky clean, the most uncomfortable position belongs to that of the world’s governing body and its influential member boards, namely, Cricket Australia (CA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

At a time when the focus should be on the fast approaching ICC Cricket World Cup and the enticing prospect of a World Test championship, cricket is embroiled in a reputation defending exercise. And at the heart of it is the battle between the International Cricket Council and a leading news agency, Al Jazeera, who continues to probe into fixing allegations much to the consternation of the governing body.

On face value and shock factor, it is hard to refute the evidence of the documentary that went by the name of ‘Munawar Files’. Yet Al Jazeera maintains that the ICC has not been forthcoming in satisfying the disturbing queries that have arisen in the aftermath of the documentary aired. Furthermore, it alleges that the ICC’s allegation of the international news agency not being forthcoming on sharing the evidence is misconstrued because the ICC wanted the evidence before the documentary was aired in a bid to block it.

As both sides are locked in war, one of the key statements as released by the news agency was particularly alarming. In the outright, blatant dismissal of charges by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA), the news agency has come down upon the two boards and the ICC to make the serious insinuation that the cricket world is still a divided world wherein the ‘Anglo Saxon’ part of the cricket world refuses to believe or even entertain the notion that their players could have any part in bringing the game into disrepute, particularly when the fixers, as has been claimed many times, often emanate from the cricket fanatic, money spinning Indian sub-continent.

While few have picked up on the gravity of this insinuation, it is a throwback to the days when there was this rather prevalent perception that cricketers from the Indian sub-continent were handed a particularly raw deal when it came to punitive measures by match referees and indeed the ICC run by the prominent ‘white’ cricket boards whereas their fairer counterparts from foreign cricketers were allowed to get away with it as it were. Swept under the carpet, many a misdemeanor was covered to keep the cricket public in the dark while transgressions and insinuations were levelled at whim on players from the Asian sub-continent over malpractices that were sometimes unjustified.

Over the years, the shift of power has been dramatic as it has been obvious. The same, hard-nosed cricket boards now coveted partnership, particularly with India, with the teams from the Indian sub-continent for the money they could roll in, the potential of media rights and broadcast deals. The shape of Twenty20 only skewed that chart further where unabashedly players from these prominently ‘white’ countries vied for places alongside brown nosed cricketers from the continent’s dust bowls.

In that light, that a meritorious news agency with an international platform, would hark back to a time where the colour of one’s skin seemed to lend weight to decisions is rather grave and one that the ICC must not take lightly, in light of its own reputation at stake. Irrespective of whether the allegations of fixing have been appropriated rightly, in the interest of the game and the integrity of the sport and for the sake of the reputation of the cricketers under its banner, the world’s governing body owes it to come clean, to address forthrightly and systematically any ambiguity on matters as serious as fixing and to reveal its own independent investigations that will only shed light further on the sport and where it stands vis-à-vis these nefarious allegations and purported malpractices.

Tags: ICC , ECB , CA , Al Jazeera

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