Inside The Dark World Of Match Fixing


On March 30, 2011, India played Pakistan at Mohali, in a clash of the titans in the semi-final of the World Cup. Bookies across India predicted the verdict accurately: In response to India?s score of 260, Pakistan would cruise to 100, then lose two quick wickets, throw away five wickets by 150 and lose by a margin of over 20. India won by 29 runs in the presence of prime ministers of India and Pakistan, in what was said to be a predetermined verdict.

In Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy, English journalist and cricket tipster Ed Hawkins unravels the nexus between bookies and players that has tainted the game. The ICC has rejected the fixing claims as spurious and the BCCI believes it is an insult to the Indian team. But with a 2010 News of the Worldsting nailing three Pakistani cricketers for fixing and former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi claiming he was threatened for refusing to fix IPL matches, the credibility of the game appears in danger.

Take a look at excerpts from the book in these numbered pages.

The game's corrupt core exposed

In April 2012 it was understood that an investigation into the semi-final had been launched by a Pakistan intelligence agency, either the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the chief investigative agency of the government, or the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Karachi-based lawyer Karim, bursting with pride that ?the Mohali disgrace will be exposed', said that the match would be 'nailed'.

The spy was not easy to contact. It took almost weekly Skype contact between Karim and a go-between to set up a 'meeting'. Then there were the 44 emails that were sent with more than 900 conversation threads. Most of these were discussing the theories and possible reasons as to why a game of such importance would be rigged. There are many. Some appear to be utterly far-fetched, others more prosaic in the context of this book: A good, old-fashioned gambling scam, for example.

The justification for any fix is the same, however, for every story one hears. That is that India could not countenance Pakistan playing in a World Cup final in Mumbai, the city which was hit by a terrorist attack in 2008 orchestrated from within Pakistan and by Pakistanis. The shame for Indians would be too much to bear, they say. And imagine the reaction if Pakistan had won the final? Parading and dancing with the trophy on soil which had previously been scarred by Indian blood would have been torment.

So the conspiracy theorists claim that one of two plots was hatched. The first, that the Indian business lobby, powerful and unimaginably rich, pooled cash to buy off the Pakistan team and ensure no ignominy. The other that the two governments, recognising the state of peril the region could find itself in with Pakistan playing a World Cup final in Mumbai, struck a deal. For the victory, India would reinvigorate trade between the two countries. It is claimed that 400 MoUs with regard to trade were signed in the wake of Mohali. MoUs, of course, mean nothing on their own, but there has been an improvement in relations. The two signed Favoured Nation Status agreements and a new terminal was opened in April 2012 at the Wagah-Attari border. There are also rumours of the Pakistan Cricket Board being paid US$1 million for their cooperation.

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