It was just another day for the International Cricket Council (ICC), before Al Jazeera aired their investigative unit’s much-awaited, second in line, documentary about corruption in the game.
From then onwards nothing has been normal for the ICC. Nor is it likely to be in the near future at least.
As compared to the other big sports, cricket feels it is smaller and just concentrated in a few countries, or broadly speaking, in a few regions, while others claim to engage a worldwide audience.
In recent years, the ICC has been actively involved in efforts to expand its audience and has been cultivating more eyeballs through its surge into the Chinese and American market, but India still remains at large with more than one billion eyeballs at their disposal.
The recent Al Jazeera probe has done good and bad at the same time for the ICC. It served their purpose of reaching more audiences, but not in a good way, and instead in a way that ICC didn’t want things to happen.
Before all this, Sri Lanka, one of the Asian cricket giants was engulfed in a corruption probe by the ICC. The Islanders recently asked the BCCI for help as well to curb the menace of match and spot-fixing, but things don’t seem to fall in place for all the parties involved: the ICC, the Sri Lankan board, and even for all cricket-playing nations.
If Al Jazeera’s claims are true, then ICC will have to work a lot at regaining respect in the sporting circles.
Australia, England and Pakistani boards have already denied involvement of their players in corruption and have promised a hard stance against the ones found involved, but even if one fixing incident is proven, the ICC will be left in a limbo — undecided about the transparency of the game.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2018.
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