When an average person thinks about cricket, they do so by imagining a group of docile, and reservedly-enthusiastic Britons, happy about something the rest of the world doesn’t care about. The truth is that cricket is very popular in certain countries, India first and foremost, so it is like enjoying your Unibet welcome bonus offer, completely unaware that there are such things as betting on cockfights, or like misjudging the size of an iceberg.
If something is popular, it is usually lucrative. Moreover, if it can be influenced in any way, especially if such tampering can prove to become more than profitable, it will be. If we look at the scope of this sport, it is easy to realize that there is corruption and match-fixing. As regrettable as that is, what is truly shocking is the sheer scale of the corrupted infrastructure of this fine sport.
Where Do People Play, And How Many?
As we’ve determined before, cricket is not played only in England. It first got spread out into other English-speaking countries, like the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. From there, it quickly spread out to Britain’s colonies, India, and South Africa. It didn’t stop there, as Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh joined in.
While it is difficult to know for certain the exact number of people partaking in the sport, it is reasonable to say that twenty million people from more than a hundred countries play cricket today! It is crazy, and it requires us to rethink our previous assumption concerning the sport’s popularity.
As any popular sport, cricket is bound to draw in some friendly and professional wagers. It is worth billions upon billions of dollars, considering the numerous bets. However, this doesn’t exclude illegal gambling. More than a hundred billion changes hands every year in India in shady organizations. There is no form of a gaming commission that guarantees you will get paid, nor to protect your own health, for that matter.
Al Jazeera helped us see how far the “industry’ has progressed, by exposing Aneel Munawar, a fixer of the famous Indian criminal group Dawood Company, sometimes referred to simply as D-Company. Aneel Munawar, as shown in Al Jazeera’s documentary, had info on how several matches would end. Two Australian and three English cricketers were involved in spot-fixing. This is a type of fix where you predetermine which teams play each other – if you control the spots in tournaments, controlling the outcome of individual matches is a walk in the park.
There is something that needs to be pointed out – lately, there have been scandals surrounding not only the ‘lower’ forms of cricket, but also something called Test cricket. This is as high as the game goes, for matches last five days, and are perceived as the real standard, something that is nearly sacred in the eyes of the Indian population. The five players that were caught were involved in three Test matches in India, and that’s India alone. There is no safe haven from corrupted gambling in cricket.