MCC World Cricket Committee meeting January 11, 2012

MCC backs covert operations to tackle fixing

ESPNcricinfo staff

The MCC's World Cricket Committee has supported the use of covert operations, "preferably directed at somebody already suspected", by the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACSU) to tackle corruption in cricket. The committee, which met in Cape Town on January 8 and 9, also called for uniformity in the implementation of DRS - which isn't being used currently in series involving India - and lamented the postponement of the Test Championship to 2017.

The MCC is seen as the guardian of the game but its recommendations are not binding on the ICC.

The thrust of its deliberations appeared aimed at tackling corruption in the game, and it said "'mystery shopper' operations should be considered, preferably directed at somebody already suspected."

The spot-fixing scandal of 2010 was revealed by undercover reporting by the now-defunct News of the World, which pointed to then Pakistan captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir having taken part in a spot-fixing plot during the tour of England.

All three were banned by the ICC and, following criminal trials in the UK, sentenced to varying lengths of detention. The MCC also tackled this issue, recommending life bans for any captain, vice-captain and coach found guilty of corruption - with the punishments at the international level also applying to domestic cricket. This, if implemented, would rule out the possibility of Butt making a comeback when his ban is over.

It did not, however, take a firm stand on the use of lie-detector tests as a means of establishing guilt. "The committee is keeping an open mind on the use of polygraphs, but for now does not recommend that their use be encouraged except as a possible route by which suspected players might attempt to exonerate themselves."

The committee also stated it is "wrong" that the DRS is not used for series involving India, and called on the ICC to make more room for Test matches in the calendar, expressing "disappointment" that 'icon' series such as England v South Africa in 2012 will comprise just three Tests and the recent series between Australia and South Africa had just two.

The committee, led by Mike Brearley, and comprising several former cricketers as well as current cricketers such as Kumar Sangakkara and Rahul Dravid, also suggested that future World Twenty20 tournaments should include 16 teams instead of the 12 decided for 2012, and said it was "uncomfortable" with the ICC's ban on the runners and "uneasy" about the abuse of the law relating to substitute fielders.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Satish on January 12, 2012, 11:23 GMT

    ST really got away for sure that time.. It was one of the most ex. which shows the incapability of DRS.. India is not saying DRS against India is a fault but on the whole, DRS is a flaw..

  • Nathan on January 12, 2012, 3:26 GMT

    There are far more correct decisions in cricket matches where the DRS is involved. The one's it still gets wrong are far outweighed by the ones it gets right.

  • Sanjiv on January 12, 2012, 3:13 GMT

    I hope that the MCC have a constructive strategy to lobby the ICC on the various recommendations, like the ban on runners. I feel their recommendations are technically sound - just need to see if they have a lobbying-strategy that goes beyond a single press release. Otherwise it is a waste of time being part of such an ineffectual group. Are they just another Yahoo-User-group or do they carry clout with the decision makers?

  • Gower on January 11, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    MCC "...also stated it is wrong that the DRS is not used for series involving India". What a joke. To use DRS for India vs Aus would have been a farce after what happened in England where the third umpire had no qualms about overruling the DRS!! Why was Dravid given out by the third umpire when Hawkeye/Hot Spot showed no nick? - twice, wasn't it?! Stuart Broad asked to see Laxman's bat on the field because he couldn't believe Hot Spot didn't show a nick when HE thought it did!

  • G on January 11, 2012, 14:05 GMT

    In North America, there is a legal defense that can be used for these so-called covert operations on suspected countries (translation, ICC will keep coming after Pakistan and maybe Sri Lanka, no one else). This is called "Entrapment", and the evidence cannot be submitted in the court, you must prove you had no hand in it and you did not persuade the person to commit the offence.

  • John on January 11, 2012, 12:55 GMT

    This report only tells part of the story. Cricinfo readers will be interested to learn that Cambridge University is carrying out independent tests on DRS as stated by John Stephenson of the MCC. Cricinfo reporters should research who provided Cambridge Uni with the parameters for the test - ICC or MCC? How long before a report is delivered, will it be made public? There is a possibility that this info may be sufficient to convince Tendulkar, Dhoni and Srinivasan that DRS is in their interests. Cricinfo needs to be more proactively positive in advancing the DRS debate rather than its current image of leaning towards accepting the BCCI line. India's resistance to DRS has not won it any friends in the cricket world as evidenced by the illustrious membership of the MCC World Cricket Cricket Committee bagging the Indian stance. Interestingly Dravid and Kumble are members of that same Committee.

  • Thomas on January 11, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    MCC has done independent research on Hawkeye, you can find the report online very easily and it shows just how accurate it is. The predictive element is as near to perfect as possible. The only real problems with DRS is that the human element operating the system isn't perfect. The umpires need special training, as anyone would when a new innovation is introduced to any workplace.

  • Cricinfouser on January 11, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    Once again, the MCC Cricket Committee demonstrate that ex players have an understanding of and respect for the game lacking in the former politicians and businessmen who dominate the ICC.

  • Dummy4 on January 11, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    @satish19, I think you forgot to mention why IND. kept quiet when ST was out in semifinal against Pak.and they changed the ball deliverance.

  • Satish on January 11, 2012, 7:17 GMT

    Well.. MCC should keep a eye on DRS if they want it to function uniformly.. Let them analyse the decisions taken by DRS.. Rather unusual to see so may teams keep quiet even when they were betrayed by the best available technology.. Only BCCI should fight to keep the game played in good spirits? I cnat understand how NZ team kept quiet on the Lyon incident or why SL kept quiet when two wickets were given out for Hawkeye when there was just a mark while the replays suggested it might not be ball mark.. Let ICC decide on usage of DRS with replays alone.. DRS takes a 50-50 chance on close decisions.. The DRS is 100% perfect only for obvious howlers like inside edge for LBW, thick edge, or outside leg pitched ball.. Such decisions can be rectified by using the replays and normal pitch map..

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