Sunday, 29 March 2015

Who Really Won The Cricket World Cup?

A corrupt boss.
Limited use of video technology.
Massive betting turnover.
Who really won the Cricket World Cup 2015? 

Today Australia deservedly won the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2015 but the finale was undermined by having the trophy handed over to the victorious Aussies by ICC chairman N. Srinivasan, a man whose core competencies would seem to orbit around corruption and matchfixing.

Srinivasan was permanently removed as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) by the Indian Supreme Court on March 25th 2014 following investigations into several scams including betting on IPL matches where his son-in-law (Gurunath Meiyappan) is serving a jail sentence for passing inside information to bookmakers on Chennai Super Kings matches.
The 170-page report also stated that Srinivasan's company, India Cements, was liable for Meiyappan's actions. 
The resignation was ordered to facilitate investigations into the betting scam with the Supreme Court finding it "nauseating" that Srinivasan was continuing in office.
Srinivasan is also being investigated as a major investor in the massive corruption surrounding Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Yet, unbelievably, on June 26th 2014, Srinivasan was made chairman of the ICC!

In 2008, cricket introduced the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) to undermine the activities of rogue umpires linked to major underground criminal consortia like the Dawood Company.
Initially UDRS was mandatory for ALL international matches but, under pressure from BCCI, it became optional and was only implemented if both teams agreed.
The BCCI used the same argument as that found in the equally corrupt global football betting markets - the technology is not 100% accurate. But, then again, neither are umpires and research has shown that UDRS has markedly reduced the number of incorrect decisions.

From this point on, the improvements in integrity generated by UDRS have become increasingly sidelined as corruption has regained control of world cricket.

Firstly, India have refused to utilise UDRS in ANY Test Match, One Day International (ODI) or T20 International.

Then it was decided that UDRS would NEVER be used in T20 matches despite 80% of fans wanting for it to be introduced.

Then, in 2012, the range of potential LBW dismissals on review was reduced markedly by effectively making the stumps thinner and shorter than they are in reality, giving more powers back to the umpire.

Then, it was decided that for ICC World Cup 2015, each side would have only one review per innings (whether successful or not) - previously a successful review was carried forward. Once again more power was returned to umpires.

The ICC World Cup 2015 Semi Final between New Zealand and South Africa saw the biggest ever turnover on a sporting event at Betfair - £79,879,596 was traded on the event with the average bet size being £697 (a lot of professional money then!).
It is surely of interest that ODI and T20 matches have the least recourse to UDRS and yet the largest betting turnover!

Now, with a chairman who was removed from administrative cricket position in his own country due to matchfixing and corruption charges orchestrating the World Cup, very limited use of video technology and markedly increased betting turnover (particularly in the underground markets of Mumbai/Dubai), one might have thought that the umpiring appointments would be spread around in a last hope for integrity?

Not so.
For the last 7 matches from Quarter Finals onwards, 24 of the 28 appointments went to just 8 officials, with umpires from England and Australia making up 20 of the appointments while India and the West Indies had NONE!
Worse still, Kumar Dharmasena and Richard Kettleborough were on-field umpires for Australia's victories in both Semi Final and Final!

The global betting turnover on each of these two matches is measured in tens of billions of pounds.

We cannot claim for certain that matchfixing occurred in either game but we can say for certain that considerable structural design has been created to ENABLE corruption to be more likely to occur.

That wasn't the original purpose of UDRS and it is a lesson football must learn if it is ever to even consider addressing matchfixing and corruption in its own house via the use of video technology.

What a pity that the ICC sought to undermine the pure sporting beauty that modern ODI cricket provides.

The best team won the World Cup.
The best four teams reached the Semi Finals.

But the real winners are a bunch of Mumbaikar residing in the United Arab Emirates...
... and those who were persuaded to do their bidding.

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