Controversy

JULY 02, 2014

Corruption in cricket

'That's when my life changed'

In a five-part interview with NewstalkZB, Lou Vincent details how bookies offered him an initial US$15,000 during the Indian Cricket League, how his "hero" was furious after Vincent couldn't carry out a fix as planned, and whether he thinks a life ban is a severe enough punishment.

JUNE 27, 2014

ICC annual conference 2014

Cricket makes 'a fool of itself'

The doubts over N Srinivasan's status in the BCCI and the investigations against his IPL franchise and son-in-law for allegations of corruption did not hinder his appointment as the ICC's first chairman after a restructure of the world governing body. Chloe Saltau, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, says the support Srinivasan has received from other ICC members does not help improve the game's image when it comes to fighting corruption.

Even if, as Srinivasan says, he is proven to have done nothing wrong, the fact that other members of the ICC endorsed him for the chairmanship hardly inspires confidence in their collective desire to stamp out corruption from the sport.

JUNE 09, 2014

India cricket

'All investigations till now are independent silos'

In an interview with the Week, former Delhi Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar shares his views on the fixing scandal of IPL 2013 and the ongoing probe led by Justice Mukul Mudgal. Kumar stresses the need for further investigation and says the focus should be on pursuing all loose ends across different cities.

"The committee should look at the bigger picture. All investigations till now are independent silos. One module each in Chennai, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Delhi. They have to be put together. All leads related to the names in the sealed envelope should be followed."

JUNE 08, 2014

Sri Lanka in England 2014

The morals of mankading

A blog post on the Economist website explores how the recent mankading controversy in the ODI between England and Sri Lanka has brought to the fore the issue of guarding ethical norms in sport. The writer suggests that abiding by the rules - which allow mankading - may not necessarily be the same as behaving in a correct manner.

There might be an argument for moral relativism; that given the pressures they face, professionals should play to different standards than the rest. But this, it seems, is just a way of saying that professionals' conduct can be less ethical than others'. And there is a difference between what has become accepted and what is right.

JUNE 04, 2014

Sri Lanka in England 2014

England should apologise for mankading, not SL

An editorial in the Guardian says Sri Lanka's mankading of Jos Buttler was well within the rule books, and so it should be England who apologise for the incident, not the visitors.

In the words of Sir Donald Bradman: "If not, why is the provision there which enables the bowler to run him out? By backing up too far or too early, the non-striker is very obviously gaining an unfair advantage." If it's good enough for the Don, it should be good enough for Alastair Cook. It's England who should apologise.

JUNE 02, 2014

England cricket

Broad's Brisbane trial

Stuart Broad has a endured winter riddled with disappointment, in Australia and then in the World T20. He was likely to receive a sour welcome on the return Ashes series after choosing not to walk when he nicked to first slip. He had sought psychiatric help, but in an interview with Donald McRae for Guardian, Broad recounts how the events of the first day of the Brisbane Test were beyond what he expected.

Broad looks almost shocked again. How did he feel amid such raw animosity? "I just went 'Wow - that's 50,000 people properly booing me'. It ruffled me and I bowled a no-ball with my first delivery. I also slung one down leg side in that over. So I must admit I was shaken by it.

"But I got a wicket with my first ball next over and I felt fine. I went down to deep square and the whole crowd stood up and shouted and I had a singalong with them and just relaxed. There was a moment when I found myself whistling along to 'Broady is a wanker' and I thought: 'What am I doing here?' It was a hell of an experience for a 27-year-old to go through. I'll never face anything that tough again."

MAY 23, 2014

Spot-fixing

BCCI should do better to restore fans' faith - Bhogle

Harsha Bhogle, in his column for Indian Express, a long tournament like the IPL can fall prey to spot-fixing. Unfavourable sources could take advantage of an event where one match is forgot in the wake of the next. This heightens the need to be more vigilant, if the fan's support is to be safeguarded.

With power comes this responsibility and at the first whiff of impropriety, they need to come down hard. The BCCI can argue they did precisely that by banning Sreesanth and the others almost immediately but by their opposition to the Mudgal Commission they have got the public concerned. Like all organisations they must feel the pulse of the consumers, the fans, and while the public enjoy watching the IPL, as indeed I do, there is a growing feeling that the BCCI isn't trying hard enough to convince them that they are watching a fair contest everytime. And as more revelations, like those from Vincent and others that gave testimony, tumble out, the need to reach out to the public must grow even stronger.

MAY 03, 2014

Indian cricket

Mudgal panel a welcome change

Pradeep Magazine recalls an investigation into Indian cricketers over a similar kind of scandal that is presently cloaked over the IPL. In Hindustan Times, he highlights the efficacy of Justice Mukul Mudgal's committee by contrasting the ongoing probe with proceedings from 17 years ago when he had to depose in front of a former Chief Justice.

Even today, much wiser and aware of the dodgy ways of the world, I recoil in dismay and horror at the experience I had that day at Mumbai's Cricket Club of India. Chandrachud was not interested in knowing anything about the veracity of my encounter with the bookie. Instead, he was keener on talking in generalities and looking at the game through the prism of the romantic British elite worldview, where cricket meant fair play and high moral values! When I did make an attempt to tell him about my encounter with the bookie, he just uttered "leave it" to signal the conclusion of our meeting.

APRIL 23, 2014

Indian cricket

To thwart BCCI stalling

The BCCI-suggested three-man probe panel was at least two-thirds fair until the far-reaching influence of the BCCI made it obsolete. With the Supreme Court rejecting them, Suresh Menon, in Wisden India believes it is high time the proper authorities are given greater control of the investigation into alleged corruption in the IPL.

But professional investigators have to come into it too: the CBI, the police forces in Delhi, Mumbai and Tamil Nadu. In another month, it will be a year since television pictures of a player with a towel tucked into his trousers shocked a nation. In all that time, the BCCI has merely stonewalled the investigation. Many wasted meetings, air fares, hotel accommodations and daily allowances later, it has nothing to show for its efforts to clean up the game. Neither the spirit nor the flesh is willing.

MARCH 31, 2014

Indian cricket

The conflicts of interest that hamper Gavaskar

Sandipan Deb, in the Mint, writes that Sunil Gavaskar can only maintain his personal authority in his role as the interim BCCI chief if he resolves his own conflict-of-interest issues.

So, Gavaskar is an administrator, commentator, possibly BCCI's covert representative on TV, and agent of Indian cricketers, all at the same time. If this not conflict of interest, what is? In addition, he is an NRI based in the United Arab Emirates, where, coincidentally enough, the first phase of IPL7 is going to be played. The choice of the UAE as venue has been controversial, since India has avoided playing there for years because the region is the global headquarters of cricket betting, and IPL6 was hit by a huge betting scandal which led to the whole Supreme Court business.

MARCH 23, 2014

Indian cricket

The challenges in Jammu & Kashmir cricket

Cricket in Jammu and Kashmir is rife with roadblocks and a lot of them tend to be off the field. Jonathan Selvaraj in the Indian Express explores how the players have had to deal with the haphazard facilities, troubles with terrorism and accusations of bias. But this Ranji season, J&K brushed aside the past and progressed into the Ranji quarterfinals, under the leadership of Parvez Rasool, the first player from the state to be selected for India.

Forty-seven-year-old Abdul Qayoom Bagaw, however, has seen much worse. Now coach of the team, Bagaw is also J&K's leading wicket-taker. The broad-shouldered right-arm quick saw his career suffer because his prime years as a cricketer coincided with the most turbulent time in the Valley. After four regular seasons of first-class cricket, Qayoom had taken 86 wickets, and was poised to leap into the big league. But at the start of the 1992-93 season, a letter arrived home. "It was a death threat signed by militants, warning me not to play for India," says Qayoom, who was 25 then. He didn't turn up for his side that year.

MARCH 22, 2014

Bangladesh cricket

Bangladesh and needless bravado

Bangladesh's preference for glory has irked Quazi Zulquarnain Islam, who in Dhaka Tribune, voices his displeasure at Shakib Al Hasan refusing an obvious single to trounce Nepal with a resounding six in their World T20 encounter.

For metaphor's sake, Shakib refusing the single to win the match when the opportunity presented itself is the footballing equivalent of a team intentionally spurning a goal-scoring opportunity because the opponent is already well-beaten. It showcases neither flair, nor cheek, but a lack of professional ethics when playing the game. As professionals you are required to take every single opportunity that comes your way and do so to the best of your ability; imagine if Cristiano Ronaldo passed up the chance to score tap-ins against Granada because he wanted to score belters instead. An act as brazen as this shows a distinct lack of respect towards your opponents.

MARCH 04, 2014

England news

Westfield speaks out

Mervyn Westfield went from county cricketer to criminal after being caught up in spot-fixing while playing for Essex. He has spent time behind bars, but is now rebuilding his life by warning others of the dangers of being sucked into a murky world. He will also resume playing cricket this season, at club level in Essex, and is not feeling sorry for himself. In his first significant interview, he speaks to the BBC's Joe Wilson.

He never spent the money and didn't even carry out the spot-fix correctly, but the stark fact is he took £6,000 to deliberately bowl badly. It was a decision which eventually left him in one of Europe's most secure prisons. At Belmarsh, he learned how to live alongside murderers and exist on 10 minutes of outdoor activity a day. "Whatever punishment they gave to me, I had to take it," he said. "I did wrong and got punished for it. I've just got to accept it.''

FEBRUARY 12, 2014

India cricket

IPL clean-up needs hard evidence

Writing in the Hindustan Times, Kadambari Murali Wade, the former editor of Sports Illustrated India shares her experience of meeting with the Mudgal Committee that was probing the spot-fixing and corruption charges in IPL 2013.

Drawing on her experience of an investigative story published in the magazine, and her interactions with the committee, she says that mere allegations or suggestions of corruption by the committee are not likely to help the cause of Indian cricket.

The ACSU does get information from several sources, players, journalists, officials etc. They reportedly even have several players on an unofficial watchlist. However, they find it difficult to push forward because of a lack of evidence that will stand up in court. Against this backdrop, it is interesting to note that a Supreme Court-appointed committee seems to think there is enough "evidence".

Everyone knows that Indian cricket needs to be cleaned up. But it can't be done on the basis of allegations, unless they've received hard evidence, allegations by a committee of this magnitude could be even more damaging.

JANUARY 09, 2014

The Ashes 2013-14

Give Flower all the power

Andy Flower likes to tap into the knowledge of other sports, and their coaches, as he decides on the best way to go about his job. That job has now become very tough in the wake of the Ashes whitewash and there are suggestions he will walk if he doesn't get his way over Kevin Pietersen. Sir Clive Woodward, who guided England to the 2003 Rugby World Cup, writing in the Daily Mail, provides an view from outside the cricket world about how the ECB need to go about rebuilding.

No matter the sport, the head coach must be the only man who is unequivocally in charge, yet even Flower's job title of 'team director' muddies everything. In our national set-ups both in cricket and rugby, too many key decisions are being made by committee. That in turn leads to popularity contests and allows compromise to come into play. When things go wrong reports are commissioned -- the 2006-07 Ashes whitewash sparked the Schofield report -- but nobody fronts up to take the blame.

OCTOBER 02, 2013

Pakistan cricket

It's never just cricket in Pakistan

Cricket in Pakistan has a history of being tinted by ethnic and religious factors. Nadeem Paracha, in Dawn, presents a chronicle of curious selections, protests and regional rivalries, notably when a 24-year-old was appointed Pakistan captain.

Shortly before the series, Miandad was quoted by the press as saying that the senior players in the team were not co-operating with him. Majid Khan took offense and invited nine players to his home in Lahore and told them that he was going to refuse playing under Miandad. He said that Zaheer [Abbas] had agreed to do the same. The board decided to side with Miandad and he led a brand new team against the Lankans in the first Test of the series at Karachi's National Stadium.

OCTOBER 01, 2013

Indian cricket

The challenges facing N Srinivasan

Deccan Herald runs an editorial on the challenges facing N Srinivasan and the responsibilities to be undertaken by the man who was recently re-elected as BCCI president for a third term.

The way Srinivasan mowed down his detractors was quite ruthless. Niranjan Shah and Sudhir Dabir were shown the door at the first hint of taking sides with the rival camp led by Sharad Pawar and Shashank Manohar. Lalit Modi, once his closest aide and now his strongest critic, has been banned for life from the activities of the BCCI. It's time then for Srinivasan to show the same diligence while reconstructing the battered image of BCCI.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2013

Corruption in the IPL

Keep calm and trust the Indian judicial system

The BCCI's decision to impose a life-ban on Sreesanth for his alleged involvement in match-fixing, has evoked mixed emotions from players and fans alike. While many have welcomed the board's tough stance, others have been left perplexed by the fact that such a harsh punishment was handed even before the Patiala House Court's verdict was out. Nirmal Shekar, writing for the Hindu, too believes that the board might have jumped the gun in order to find a scapegoat.

A lynch-mob mentality has always come in handy for men in power in this country -- no matter whether it is politics or sport or whatever. Law may be blind, but in the BCCI's case scapegoating is done with great relish and with eyes wide open. There is absolutely no attempt here to build up a case for Sreesanth & Co. But the law should take its own course. The Board believes it is a private body ... and it cannot pronounce judgments on critically important ethical issues when cases are pending in courts of law.

SEPTEMBER 09, 2013

Australian cricket

Moving away from 'pale, male, stale'

Fawad Ahmed's presence in the headlines, having so far been a feel-good tale of success and survival, had taken a sour turn when his decision to appear for Australia sans their sponsor, Victoria Bitter's logo, on his uniform has invited criticism from from former sportspeople. Cricket Australia made their support for Fawad amply clear and Sharda Ugra writing in the Australia India Institute explores Australian cricket's migration from the supposed 'pale, male, stale' stereotype.

It is understood that the contract between Cricket Australia and Carlton & United Breweries, owners of VB, contained an opt-out clause about wearing the alcohol sponsor's logo because of a player's religious belief. Fawad's Australian team shirt was not an after-thought that had led to the logo being ripped off or covered with black tape minutes before he went on to the field. It is part of a larger, constantly evolving picture

Fawad's swift rise raises a point which is applicable to several international athletes. It asks how much, and what playing for a country, any country, means in the modern day, writes Osman Samiuddin in the National. Fawad's story is not very different from Kevin Pietersen's, in that it just places notions of individual progress and excellence above collective pride.

Does not the pride and honour of individual achievement naturally supersede that of representing a country? That is, it must feel great to be acknowledged as one of the top individual athletes in the country, more so than the feeling of pride that comes with representing your country. In other words, the identity of the country an athlete represents - or any attachment to it - may not be as important to the athlete as the desire to be among the best at whatever discipline the athlete has chosen and be recognised as such by being selected to represent their country.

AUGUST 03, 2013

The Investec Ashes

"He loves being the villain"

David Warner's decision to review an obvious edge off his bat to Jonathan Trott, has been met with much ridicule and criticism from the fans, pundits and players alike, as his eventual dismissal was met with a wave of boos from the Old Trafford faithful. Barney Ronay, writing for the Guardian, tries to find some logic behind Warner's actions.

Perhaps Warner hoped vaguely some gremlin in the DRS would gum the works in his favour. The easier conclusion is that his judgment, such as it is, had been mangled by the fevered nature of his reception at the wicket: not just from the crowd but also from Joe Root who walked uncomfortably close before Warner had faced his first ball and seemed to be offering some helpful words of advice on high summer conditions at Old Trafford. Increasingly that initial sense of bafflement over Warner's choice of late-night victim - Really? Little Rooty? - seems less obviously clear-cut.

PREVIOUS SHOWING 1 - 20 NEXT