ICC chief says global governing body is ready to do extra work required to prevent fixing scandals
Cricket’s governing body admitted the popularity of Twenty20 cricket has increased the risks of corruption in the game, but insisted extra vigilance was in place to monitor them.
Ever since the Twenty20 was introduced in February 2005 the shortest version of the game has overtaken traditional five-day Tests and limited overs one-day internationals in popularity. Besides the six editions of the World Twenty20, most of the member countries have their own Twenty20 leagues with the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), which began in 2008, the most high-profile version.
But most of the leagues have also had problems with fixing scandals.
The IPL was hit by a spot-fixing scandal in 2013, which resulted in two-year bans on two of its franchise teams.
The Pakistan Super League and Bangladesh League were also rocked by fixing scandals, which ended in bans on several players.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson said his body was ready to do extra work. “I am sure that a lot of bookmakers like Twenty20 cricket but I don’t think it’s correct to say that increasing the number of Twenty20 matches will increase the risk,” said Richardson at a media briefing. “The bottom line is that the Twenty20 matches have increased the number of fans, has attracted new fans and with more people following the game there is a bigger risk that there could be efforts to corrupt those matches. So there is an indirect relationship between the Twenty20 matches and the increased risk. Our priority is to increase the fans so if we have to work harder then we are ready for that.”
Alex Marshall, the general manager of ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), admitted bookmakers target the Twenty20 and other leagues like the T10, a league with 10-over-a-side matches started last year. “My point was not that the Tweny20 attracts corrupters but the explosion of the Twenty20 events, including some private events and some are designed for the whole purpose of corruption, have presented a new opportunity to the corrupts,” said Marshall, a former London police officer. “They [bookmakers] do think it’s a new format and they might be able to affect a small part of it for a yield from corrupt illegal bookmaking.”
Marshall said the ACU’s objective is to make Twenty20 leagues transparent. “The expansion is bringing more countries, more players, more fans and it’s a brilliant development so we have to make them resistant to corrupt people and that responsibility also sits with the people who organize such evens to make sure that all the right anti-corruption measures are in place.”