THE England and Wales Cricket Board’s decision to impose a life ban on leg-spinner Danish Kaneria for instigating his county colleagues to indulge in spot-fixing is yet another black mark against Pakistan cricket. The sportsman’s penalty has not only put Pakistan under the scanner yet again as a cricketing nation, it has also thwarted the efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board and the current set of players to get rid of the stigma of repeatedly bringing the game into disrepute. It is indeed an irony that Mr Kaneria’s ban coincides with the release of former Pakistan skipper Salman Butt from a British jail after being indicted in the infamous spot-fixing scam of 2010. While both sportsmen have pleaded innocence in their respective cases, they have been found guilty of lying and spot-fixing.
The PCB, under its new chairman, has displayed a resolve to eradicate match-fixing by setting up an anti-corruption unit this year besides appointing special staff to scrutinise players’ activities both on and off the field. Unfortunately, not much emphasis has been placed on educating and grooming the players to enable them to be on their guard against unethical practices. While it is true that some have knowingly indulged in the latter, more often than not players have been undone by their naivety, falling prey to bookies and other mafias and coming to be associated with spot-fixing early on in their sporting careers. With the advent of Twenty20 cricket, the lure and temptation of money has increased manifold for the players and with it the perils of spot-fixing. It is therefore essential for the watchdogs of cricket in Pakistan to adopt every measure in the book to eliminate the fixing menace before it engulfs what was once called a gentleman’s game.