New Delhi: The recent sting operation, where an Indian TV channel shows umpires willing to fix decisions in leagues like the Sri Lankan Premier League, might have stung the world of cricket but it does not show any money exchanging hands and no evidence of the umpires actually doing what they agreed to do.
In the sting, Pakistan umpire Nadeem Ghauri agreed to give LBW decisions on demand, Sri Lankan umpire Sagar Gallage agreed to part with pitch information one and a half hours before the game, Bangladesh umpire Nadir Shah agreed to warn bowlers unfairly. The International Cricket Council has launched an investigation into it. But the bigger question is how deep is the fixing rot. Have the local leagues across the cricket world become a breeding ground of corruption?
T20 leagues around the world have come under the scanner in the recent past. Mashrafe Murtaza was approached for spot fixing during the Bangladesh Premier League, and the recent TV sting on umpires happened during the Sri Lanka Premier league.
However, to call this sting operation an exposé would probably be wrong. Why? Because there wasn't a prominent player or umpire who was shown doing anything illegal or corrupt. So does this sting lack the bite? Here are a few points to put things into perspective.
No money deal: The India TV sting has thrown up certain questions. Unlike the News of the World sting, which exposed 3 Pakistani cricketers for spot fixing, there isn't a single moment in the India TV sting where money has changed hands.
No corrupt practice: While umpires like Nadir Shah of Bangladesh agreed to do favours by manipulating decisions on the field, there isn't a single incident of him or any other umpire actually doing the. They might have made promises on the phone, but they cannot be pronounced guilty on the basis of that.
Unimportant information: Anyway, the lone incident of an umpire leaking information is that of Sri Lankan umpire Sagara Gallage. But he supplied information like - the Pitch report and playing XI half an hour before the match, which by the way, a viewer can get access to by simply watching the channel broadcasting the matches.
International Cricket untouched: Also, the entire sting revolves around the Sri Lankan Premier League and practice match of the World T20, which doesn't come under the purview of international cricket. In fact all six umpires caught in the sting are no more involved in international matches.
However, it will be not be correct to dismiss the India TV sting entirely. What it shows is that umpires are vulnerable and can be lured into match fixing.
Also, this is the third time in the last couple of years that match-fixing in cricket has been exposed by the media. Clearly, the International Cricket Council isn't doing their job well of keeping the sport they govern, clean.