Cricket: Soft target for bookies

THOUGH cricket, marred by financial scandals and corruption, has lost the clean game image yet the way the spot and match fixing scandals have exclusively hit Pakistan Cricket over the last few years have no precedence whatsoever. It is unfortunate and depressing that hardly any of our cricket series passes without any scandal of spot or match fixing.
Now as Pakistan is playing the one-day series against Sri Lanka in the UAE and already sealed the series against them, reports have appeared that team Captain Sarfraz Ahmad was approached by a bookie and made a spot-fixing offer to him. Sarfraz foiled the scandal in the making by rejecting the offer and reporting immediately the incident as per rules to the PCB’s anti-corruption unit. Indeed, the very act of the skipper will not only serve as a guide for other young players in the national team but also bring good name to our cricket which was blemished in the past by ugly acts of both senior and junior players such as Salim Malik and mostly recently by Sharjeel and others. Though we understand that our players cannot be singled out as everybody knows where the dens of these bookies exist and thriving but one wonders as to why Pakistani players so conveniently become accessible to them, leave aside the question whether they accept or reject the dirty offers. If the PCB really wants to save the players either old or budding talent from getting embroiled in any controversy, it needs to develop a strict code of conduct for the players. Especially during any series, the players should be barred from meeting irrelevant people or visiting places such as casinos or clubs. This will also be good for the players to keep their focus on the game. Recent performances by the team especially in the one day internationals with the inclusion of young blood has raised hopes that it is on the right track to achieve the goals. We expect that the skipper, the team management and the PCB will do their best to keep the players away from any distractions or falling prey to bookies.

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