KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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In the aftermath of the latest World Cricket committee meeting, Mike Brearley says complacency is the biggest risk in cricket's corruption fight.
"I write from New Zealand, after another illuminating and instructive World Cricket committee meeting – the first to be held in this beautiful country.
"Designing an agenda for a biannual meeting comes with its own challenges. Of course, it needs to reflect current matters – such as the recently-amended No ball Law – but it also has to take account of long-standing issues that are not going to disappear; regrettably, corruption within the game is such an issue.
"Since the committee met in Perth in late 2010, questions about how to prevent, minimise, investigate and weed out corruption have been at or near the top of every agenda.
"This was true in Auckland. In the weeks leading up to this meeting, members of the committee, and the Club’s executives responsible to it, have spoken not only to current and former players on their perceptions of the scale of the problem in international, domestic and franchise cricket, but also to investigators, coaches and experts on gambling.
"We received some revealing information from bookmakers and betting exchanges. We now understand better what aspects of the game are bet on in illegal Indian betting markets. ICC recognises the need to work with that industry. There is also a need to develop intelligence based on probabilities, which would allow cricket officials and administrators to spot suspect periods of play. One small example: over the last ten years, the chance of a maiden over being bowled in Twenty20 cricket is less than 1% – the more authorities know what to look for in terms of atypical occurrences, the more likely they are to eradicate corrupt practices.
"Domestic ACSUs need to step up their resources and pool information; as we know the corruptors have been tending to displace their activities away from the highly-scrutinised international scene onto domestic and franchised matches, especially when televised. Information acquired on many fronts can give authorities confidence to begin investigations.
"Education, investigation (both into suspect practices and in terms of undertaking due diligence on franchise owners), industry knowledge and player involvement and ownership are all needed to tackle corruption – this meeting has made me appreciate that more than ever before. The threat of corruption won’t go away. Complacency is the biggest risk; we need to be resourceful and vigilant."