May 23, 2009

Experience + money = match-fixing?

Siddhartha Talya

Javed Miandad recently alleged that IPL games, often decided off the last ball this season, were being fixed. Now you can find out of yourself, if you’re an ace mathematician that is.

Professor David Forrest, a renowned gambling researcher, believes it is possible to calculate whether or not match result has been influenced by cheating players and corrupt officials. He and his colleagues came up with a complex formula, which takes into account how many years of competition an athlete has left, the probability of their being caught, their current wealth and the potential damage to their reputation. "An industry estimate is that on a weekend of Premier League football, half a billion dollars is wagered, most of that from Asia,” Forrest was quoted as saying in the Manchester Evening News. “Even more money is spent on cricket, with a billion dollars of bets each day on a Test match."

The likelihood of a match being “fixed” is higher in matches where teams have nothing to play for, Forrest said. All the more reason then, to closely examine the trend of dead rubbers yielding favourable results for weaker team.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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