In the midst of the noise associated with the IPL, the other big cricketing story has been somehow relegated to the back pages. However, you can be assured that the revelations made by former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent about widespread match fixing in domestic cricket and T20 competitions across the world is well on its course of triggering another existential crisis for the game. When Vincent was called in for questioning by the ICC’s Anti Corruption Unit regarding spot fixing in domestic cricket, his testimony has laid bare the shocking story of how bookies in India and Pakistan control cricket games.
This week, the England and Wales Cricket Board leveled charges of corruption against Lou Vincent after coming to know that he was involved in underperforming in games in the county championships. In addition to that, he has also confessed to corrupt activities in the Champions T20 in which he represented the Auckland Aces and also the now defunct Indian Cricket League in which he represented the Chandigarh Lions. Now, the most intriguing part of the whole thing is that Vincent had been doing this since 2008 and it was only last December that he was called up by the ICC ASCU. The current New Zealand captain has also been deposed but as has been mentioned by the New Zealand Cricket, he is not under investigation.
The Role of the ‘Hero’
No cricketer is a born fixer who goes looking for bookies who would be willing to pay him to underperform at specific parts of a cricket match, which is why there, has to be someone who introduces him to the murky world of cricket bookies. In the case of Lou Vincent it was a former New Zealand, only referred to as ‘Player X’. However, it is widely believed that the player in question is former New Zealand all rounder Chris Cairns, who was accused of the same, by former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi a few years back. Cairns sued him in London and cleared his name, however this time he has only issued a denial.
Vincent’s ex wife Elly Rileyhas has claimed that it was Chris Cairns who introduced her husband to match fixing back in 2008 and according to one of the damning statements she said that ‘Chris was going to pay (Lou) $50,000 a game for fixing’ at the Indian Cricket League in 2008.’ She added that once Vincent became adept at the whole thing, he started acting as the Chris Cairns’ agent who was supposed to lure other cricketers in the Country Championships and Champions League T20 into the ring. He has confessed to underperforming in a game in the 40 over tournament in Country cricket when he was a part of Sussex for a payment of £40,000 pounds. Vincent used to earn £20,000/year from his county contract and hence Player X found him to be an easy prey.
When It Went From Bad to Worse
However, his luck ran out with New Zealand captain Brendan McCullum. He was also approached by ‘Player X’ during the first edition of the IPL and in England during New Zealand’s tour to the UK in 2008 with a jaw dropping upfront payment of £107,000 per game. However, he turned it down. Player X even chased him to England and made the offer again but McCullum simply said that he did not want to be a part of such a thing.
Please change headline @ESPNcricinfo…not rejecting I am Player X…please read the quotes in your story, it’s the allegations I reject…
— Chris Cairns (@chriscairns168) May 20, 2014
The most chilling part of the whole thing is the way in which the money was going to be directed to New Zealand and in this regard McCullum revealed the full extent of the criminality and corrupt practices that Player X was involved in. He said, ‘X told me that you don’t take or send it back to New Zealand. He explained that he had a man in Dubai who was associated with cricket. Through him you purchase a property in Dubai which you retain for a couple of years before selling it. The money could then be moved wherever you want to send it because to all intents and purposes, it would appear to be profit from property deals rather than fixing. X told me the name of that man in Dubai.’
What it means for the Future of the Game
The exposure of a worldwide fixing ring led by a former international cricketer is not good news for the game; especially when the World Cup is less than a year away and scandals of this sort continue to chip away at the little integrity that the game has left. New Zealand has recently criminalized match fixing in their country and so it said that it is a step in the right direction that would make the sportsmen from that country think twice before they even think of doing anything of this sort. However, it must be said that the Lou Vincent affair has certainly raised questions about the integrity of the global game and hopefully the ICC would take the right steps in eradicating the disease. The last word on the subject should go to England cricketer Eoin Morgan, who said, ‘It’s terrible for the game, it takes the life and soul out of it.
By Soham Samaddar
Video Source: Today World News@YouTube