The ICC, being one of those rare governing bodies that will be able to sustain the coming decades of a complete revamp in sports, has only managed to exist due to the sheer clout of money and fan following rather than competent principals. The way they run their sport is even worse than the working of Banana Republics.
The rich BCCI and traditionally powerful ECB and CA get their way around things by absolute pressure tactics and the smaller nations don’t comply with the ICC due to the fine examples set by the above said powerhouses. One can blame it on the corruption rife in sports, regional clout et al but the fact of the matter is that the ICC is the prima facie reason for the prevalence of almost all modern day cricket setbacks.
A fine case in point is the way the ICC has handled spot-fixing episode that rocked the game last year, after rearing its head time and again since the past two decades.
As a mere eye-wash, life bans have been s
lapped on inconsequential players at the fag ends of their careers while the in-form or younger lot is often rapped around the knuckles for fixing matches. I wonder if this ‘humane’ approach is right in face of actions that put a blemish on cricket itself.
The likes of Salim Malik and Ajay Sharma who were running out of steam have been banned by ICC in the past for fixing matches but players like Nicky Boje, Kamran Akmal, Marlon Samuels and Herchelle Gibbs were given lighter penalties because they had some cricket left in them, better translated, they could still make runs and take wickets and thus, were allowed to compete despite indulging in the fixing soup.
Is the ICC naïve enough to overlook the fact that continued instances of match-fixing will simply result in the loss of interest among the masses, its very source of power. It seems that they take the cricket fan to be an absolute fool who’ll tune-in to the match and flock in herds to the stadiums after the media exposes one fixing scandal after the other.
At a time when an example could have been set with the complete ban from cricket for the trio of Salman Butt (he was the team’s CAPTAIN and did not deem it wrong to fix games!), Mohd Asif (Mr Default personified) and Mohd Amir (a cricket juvenile who’ll come up with another fixing scandal before he retires), the ICC simply handed rather lenient verdicts, thereby encouraging fixers to be more professional about their ‘tact’ and not get caught.
How can one justify the five-year ban to Mohd Amir, who clearly was involved in spot-fixing, on grounds that he is too ‘young’ and was easily influenced? Players of such weak character should hold no place in the annals of the game’s history, they should not be nurtured.
Even getting caught doesn’t come with a big penalty and in such a scenario, any cricketer is gullible to fall prey to the betting mafia so deeply rooted into the sport. Any other sports body, be it FIFA, CAS, FIA and the likes penalises their athletes severely so as to deter such wrong doings but the ICC it seems is simply happy with the fact that stadiums aren’t completely empty and the coffers haven’t run dry, the rest, my dear friends, is all insignificant detail in their eyes.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)