11 October 2011

Match-Fixing: Australia's Bracken-, Excuse Me, Bracket-System

The Mazhar Majeed tapes are keeping the cricket pundits on their toes, as more and more details from Majeed's meetings with NOTW Journalist Mazher Mahmood are cropping up during the London spot-fixing trial.

I am sure that most of you are informed about the latest proceedings and everybody has more or less already made up their minds about these news, however, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration:

What speaks in Majeed's favour is that his revelations have proven sufficiently true in the past. Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif have all been found guilty. Furthermore Majeed has now also thrown the names of Imran Farhat, the Akmal brothers and Wahab Riaz aka Jacket Boy into the mix, out of who Kamran Akmal and Wahab had been under scrutiny by the pundits anyway (and the letter combination S-Y-D-N-E-Y is starting to hover above my head again). Majeed nebulously stated they were "his" players. Interestingly, he did not mention Danish Kaneria.

It never gets old: Wahab Riaz aka Michael Jacket (Pak v SA ODI 3, Dubai, 2 Nov 2010)

Apart from that the past has shown that not even the most reputable men are able to resists the call of cash, and in the world of corruption there exist no frontiers.

The bracket fixing, of which Majeed speaks, sounds like a proper plan due to its relative undetectability. Bowling-wise, depending on the match situation, only one player is required, however if you want to fix the batting things get a bit more complicated.

Ummmm. These were the thoughts that crossed my mind when the fear crept up that any Aussies could indeed have red stains on their hands as well.

Here's how James Sutherland reacts to Majeed's claims. I am not sure if he has understood in which way the allegations against the Pakistan trio emerged, since he keeps harping on the fact that the ACSU has not approached him over any suspicious observations, and hence suggests that Majeed's statement holds no water.

Now, what are the factors that make Majeed's claims appear like the incoherent mutterings of the Crazy Cat Lady?

Majeed states to have close connections to Brad Pitt, Roger Federer and other celebs, who he could recruit for a cricket tournament; as well as to have managed Chris Gayle and Nathan Bracken, and to know the agent of Ricky Ponting; the latter two of who had their respective representatives deny any such claims vehemently. Further names he mentioned during his boasting fit were those of Brett Lee, Yuvraj Singh, Habhajan Singh, several retired England players, Lalit Modi, and even that of former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf.

Another argument against Majeed's claims is brought forth by the ACA CEO Paul Marsh, who rather harshly replies that "...one of the differences between the Pakistan players and our players is we've got a proper player system in place here. Our guys are paid well, they are educated well and you would have to question the motivation our players would have to get involved whereas in Pakistan they are not paid very well, are not educated very well and they leave themselves open to approaches from blokes like this."

Also, unlike in the case of the no balls, which can be executed individually by single players, the bracket system applied to the batting period can only work, if a certain number of players collaborates. Since Majeed speaks of ten brackets per match a considerable part of the Australian line-up would have to be involved in the fixing, which currently overstrains my imagination.

But: since Amir, Asif and Butt have been found guilty, one cannot even approximately estimate at which point in this cascade of swaggering and name-dropping the truth ends and fantasy begins.

So although it seems that Mazhar Majeed might simply have exaggerated the facts grossly, these "new" revelations, recorded over a year ago in the course of the investigations by NOTW undercover journalist Mazher Mahmood, have opened a new can of worms. It remains to be seen if any consequences accrue from these claims apart from Nathan Bracken litigating the bejesus out of Majeed.

What a huge pile of dung.


1 comment:

Mudassar said...

If cricket needs to get out of this they have to look more deeply into it, doesn't matter how clear looking setup is, if we think that this thing is gone well deep into cricket than no body should be spared.

There is no need to do an Ijaz Butt and go all public but inside work should be done and people who doesn't often come under the radar should also monitored, like coaches, team managers, team support staff and board management.

Domestic cricket and leagues should be more closely monitored as there are lot of red flags around them.

As far as education n upbringing is concerned Paul is right in some way as the current three players Asif, Amir and Butt are all from poor and under privileged background and uneducated(with exception of Butt) but education or upbringing doesn't not guarantee anything and as CA mentioned they will have to look into them more closely as in past there were few flags raised even though they were easily swept away by CA.

And this does not only apply to Australia but to every other board as there is no harm in looking under the sofa once in a while.