Pakistan’s cricket world is coming to terms Monday with evidence their top players to take money for no balls.The question now is what is India’s link to the scandal?The News of the World, a British tabloid, on Sunday said that a 35-year-old British man, Mazhar Majeed, took money from businessmen and instructed senior members of Pakistan team to bowl no balls at specified times.
“I deal with an Indian party. They pay me for information,” the newspaper quoted Mr. Majeed as saying.Pakistan’s team has faced allegations of throwing matches in the past. Delivering no-balls is a subtler way of cheating, and benefits betting syndicates – many based in India – involved in “spot fixing” scandals.The syndicates involved pay players huge sums to deliver no-balls, or slow down run scoring. That can net them millions of dollars from the bets that are laid on how details of play – say, the number of no-balls—will unfold over specified numbers of overs.By manipulating the game, the syndicates can bend odds in their favor.The exact details of the “Indian party” are unclear but may come to light in coming days. Scotland Yard on Sunday arrested “a 35-year-old man” on suspicion of fraud.A light into the shady Indian betting world was shone in 2000 in a scandal similar to the one engulfing Pakistan’s cricket world today.Both Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin and South African captain Hansie Cronje were later forced to resign for their roles in taking money from betting syndicates in India to fix parts of play.The Central Bureau of Investigations, India’s top federal investigation body, had this to say in a repory on the affair: “It is clear that Azharuddin contributed substantially towards the expanding bookie/player nexus in Indian cricket.”The report found that illegal betting on cricket, organized by syndicates, had boomed after India won the cricket World Cup in 1983. In Pakistan illegal betting also thrives. Critics of the ban in both countries say legalization would help to stop match fixing.As for Mr. Cronje, he was banned for life by cricket authorities in South Africa and died in a plane crash in 2002. Mr. Azharuddin was elected to India’s Parliament last year on a Indian National Congress party ticket.
The fate of the Pakistani cricketers involved, which the News of The World alleges includes captain Salman Butt, remains to be seen.