It’s been a pretty eventful week in cricket and there have been a lot of very good articles written, with not all of which I entirely agree. I’ve shared a lot of them on my Twitter feed, but I wanted to share them here as well. They are in no particular order:
A cleansing process Andrew Miller’s excellent piece on Cricinfo.
Here at last is the moment at which cheating for monetary gain stops being an in-joke, as acted out by jaded professionals with too many miles on the clock and too few years in which to capitalise on their athletic prime.
Why the spot-fixing scandal shouldn’t shake our faith in cricket Lizzy Ammon in the Mirror wrote a lovely article about why Sangakkara’s Spirit of Cricket speech at the MCC last summer should be remembered in the wake of the spot-fixing verdict.
Cricket must fight to regain its reputation, it’s still a game with a great deal of integrity and even more amount of beauty populated mostly with talented, polite, passionate, respectful players and officials – we really do have to try and remember that.
Does our society breed corrupt sportsmen? Harsha Bhogle writes on Cricinfo about the effect of culture on corruption in sport. Though I disagree with his statement that similar crimes by politicians would not be reported. The MPs expenses scandal has shown otherwise. ‘But sportsmen come from the same society as everyone else. Among sportsmen are the noble, the diligent and the caring, as there are the callous, the cheats and the criminals.’
The loss of innocence The BBC’s Adam Mountford has a much more pessimistic look at the proceedings which, I confess, is closer to my mood.
For me it is this loss of innocence which is one of the saddest aspects of this whole story. What I love about sport is the drama and the unpredictability. When I turn up at a cricket match I love the feeling that anything can happen that day.
Match-fixing: Where it all began Andy Zaltzman has his usual cleverly amusing take on the origins of match-fixing.
The best place to start might be with this game: USA v Canada in 1844, the first-ever international cricket match. It was a suspiciously low-scoring game, in which no batsman scored more than 14, and the USA, cruising to victory at 25 for 0 in pursuit of 82 to win in the fourth innings, lost all 10 wickets for 33.
A strong deterrent After the guilty verdict, but before the sentences were handed down, Nasser Hussain blogged about why this sent a clear message to potential fixers. I’m not sure jail time does this more than a lengthy ban, but I agree with the sentiment.
If the reward for fixing outweighs the risk of being caught, then there will always be those willing to chance their arm – particularly if they are not getting paid much by their cricket board.
As a final note: Whilst Kumar Sangakkara’s moving speech at Lord’s is an excellent reminder of what is great about cricket, The Duckworth Lewis Method‘s lone album has a similar effect. I’ve had it on a loop for most of the last few days.