Undercover reporters, International match fixing, hundreds of thousands of dollars at play(if not millions), Scotland Yard… You would think I’m painting the picture for the next James Bond movie… But no – These are just some of the things that’s involved in the Pakistani Cricket Betting Scandal!
In what has in a very short space of time become a very popular image(image above – cover of newspaper), we see Mazhar Majeed sitting down in front of a couple of News of the World reporters counting money – lots of money. He’s an agent and bookmaker who accepted the money on behalf of Pakistani cricket players Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Amir.
What was the money for? The undercover reporters were paying to manipulate a little part of the the fourth Test match at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, England.
They recorded Mazhar Majeed telling the reporters that bowlers Mohammed Amir and Mohammed Asif would deliberately bowl no balls at specific points in an over.
Lo and behold, the bowlers delivered on schedule! The reporters had managed to manipulate the game.Majeed said to the reporters(which was secretly video taped) that Amir would be Pakistan’s first bowler of the game, and on the third ball, he would deliver a no-ball.
This is exactly what happen, and Amir didn’t make it look discrete either. He made sure everyone on the ground saw that his foot was over the line. The commentator said Amir had taken a “massive overstep”. Well said! but the commentator probably didn’t know why.
Was this the only one? No sir! There was one more to come. Majeed also said that the last delivery of the tenth over would also be a no-ball. The ball was delivered by Asif and as predicted, was also a no-ball.
Being able to predict a certain event in a game like the cricket allows for a process named as spot-fixing to take place. Spot-fixing is when sports betting punters bet on an event that they have manipulated in their favour.
So in this situation, if you had known that these no bowls were coming, you could have made a few spot-fixing bets with the bookmakers. These bets come with extremely high odds – because of the degree of difficultly in getting it right.
Once the reporters had broken the story, the government got on board to take action with the revelations. It was Scotland Yard that had arrested Majeed with the charge of match-fixing(instead of spot-fixing).
I assume that the reason why the charge was for match-fixing is simply because to Scotland Yard, manipulating some, or all of the game is pretty much the same thing. So they probably knew it was spot-fixing, but the charges against Majeed is that for match-fixing.
Scotland Yard also arrested three more people on money laundering changes in relation to the allegations. They have also seized the cell phones of the three cricket players – Salman, Asif and Amir to help them put together their investigations. Scotland Yard had announced on the 17th of September 2010 that they had handed their investigation work over to the Crown Prosecution Service where they will decide whether to charge the players.
Following on from the revelations, the International Cricket Council (ICC) took action by suspending the three players from all international cricket games until they get their names cleared.
The three players claim to be innocent of the charges.
The ICC had their suspicions before all this took place. The Anti-Corruption and Security Unit at the ICC had notified two unnamed Pakistani players that they were being investigated for allegations of spot-fixing and match-fixing.
The notices has been sent out right after the first Test Match against England in Nottingham. The notification told the players they had 2 weeks to respond to the questions.
A fourth Pakistani cricket player Yasir Hameed had denied allegations that were printed against him in the News of the World, which said he refused a bookmakers offer of £100,000 to manipulate a Test match. When talking to the reporters of News of the World, Yasir allegedly said that almost every match was fixed and criticized the players involved.