Out on a duck

Indian cricket establishment needs to ask why efforts to free the game of corruption are making no headway

By: Editorial | Published: December 22, 2017 1:09:36 am
With the influx of T20 leagues across the country, bookies have made sly inroads into cricket terrain.

When the head of an anti-corruption unit blames the Indian cricket board for inaction and apathy, it’s time to take notice and reflect. The irony is that the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators piggybacked on corruption and match-fixing issues to take over cricket administration — it was because of the fixing allegations against the IPL team that the case went to court, and the Vinod Rai-led committee took over. They had one job — to clean up cricket. It now seems that nothing much happened, despite the tall talk.

In a stinging mail that should trigger introspection and quick remedial action, Neeraj Kumar, a former Delhi police commissioner and the current ACU head, lists out how his team is hamstrung by the lack of resources and funds. To expect a three-member team to do advocacy and spread awareness is a stretch as over 900 matches take place in a season; to deny them canvassing materials (Neeraj Kumar writes that his proposal to make training films was shot down) is alarmingly apathetic; and not to provide adequate funds is to turn a blind eye to the crisis.

With the influx of T20 leagues across the country, bookies have made sly inroads into cricket terrain. As recently as July, Jaipur police acted on a tip-off from the ACU to arrest 14 persons, including six players who were found to be spot-fixing games. During IPL 10, three alleged fixers were picked up by the police from the hotel where the two teams were staying. That these illegal activities have come after high-profile IPL suspensions of teams and banning of players like Sreesanth suggests the need for constant vigilance. Instead, we find out now that Neeraj Kumar has stopped sending mails, with pleas for action, to CEO Rahul Johri’s office as he got no response. Every other month, a new T20 league is springing up across the country. If strong preventive action isn’t taken, Indian cricket could face more strife in the future.

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