UAE League under investigation after a series of controversial dismissals
A private league in the UAE is being investigated after footage emerged of a number of players from the same team seemingly deliberately getting themselves out.
The Dubai Stars were facing up against the Sharjah Warriors in the All-Time Ajman League. Though the league is not sanctioned by the ICC, cricket’s governing body began investigating the case in light of what appears to be very deliberate efforts by players to have themselves dismissed.
Footage of the game has circulated around the world, and shows a number of bizarre scenes. The Stars were in pursuit of 136 in the T20 match, but were promptly bowled out for 46. A review of the footage makes it clear why they failed so dismally in their run chase.
Players were, almost without fail, either stumped or run out. One player charged a spinner and then opted to leave the ball, unsurprisingly resulting in a stumping. Many others attempted comical singles, while some chose to run halfway down the pitch, meet their partner, and then make no genuine attempt to return to their crease.
Does it matter?
Though the match was a long way from having any international significance, the ICC ‘works to uphold integrity in cricket’, as per a statement from Alex Marshall, the ICC’s general manager of corruption.
The ground on which the game was played, the Ajman Oval, appears set to become an international cricketing venue in coming years. The local cricket council must approve any games played there, and this unfortunate event has shrouded the region in controversy.
A history of corruption in cricket
As with many global sports, cricket is forced to constantly battle the forces of corruption. Unfortunately, the issue has too often reached the highest level.
There was the case of India’s Mohammed Azharrudin accepting money to fix matches in 2000, and South Africa Hansie Cronje doing the same thing in the same year. Both were banned for life from cricket.
In 2008, the West Indies’ Marlon Samuels was charged with revealing information about his teams tactics, while two years later respected Pakistani cricketers Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir and Salman Butt were found guilty of spot-fixing a game against England, and banned for various periods from the game.
More recently, one of the biggest and oldest rivalries in world cricket was thrown into controversy when claims of match-fixing emerged prior to the third Ashes test between England and Australia.
In order to prevent it at the highest level it needs to be stamped out in the lower leagues as well, and for this reason the ICC should be commended for their strong stance on the problem.
For punters, who play a major role in the cricket industry, the problem is a significant one. Betting on such low level games should perhaps be avoided for this reason, but when it infiltrates the international cricket scene, things become a little more problematic. The ICC has a big job on its hands to cut out the problem, and for the sake of us punters, let’s hope they’re up to the task.