India should legalise betting to deal with bookmakers: Ex-ICC chief
Describing India as a "grey market" of gambling in cricket, former International Cricket Council chief Ehsan Mani has urged ICC to ask Indian government to legalise betting so that the body's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit can be effective in dealing with the bookmakers there.cricket Updated: Sep 14, 2010 21:43 IST
Describing India as a "grey market" of gambling in cricket, former International Cricket Council chief Ehsan Mani has urged ICC to ask Indian government to legalise betting.
Mani, who was ICC President from 2003-06, said as India has not legalised betting the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit cannot be effective in dealing with the bookmakers there.
"From what I understand, whenever India play a one-day match $ 200m to $ 300m will be bet. The ACSU works very closely with the bookmakers in countries where gambling is legal. So when there is a sudden change in the direction of the odds, it is quickly on to it," Mani told Wisden Cricketer magazine.
"But in the grey markets, particularly India, where it is totally unregulated, the ACSU's intelligence can only ever be superficial. So this is the time for the ICC to say to the Indian government that you have to bring this into the loop. I don't know why it hasn't happened as the government would make a lot of money out of it," he said.
"In Pakistan one might argue it's against their religious beliefs but, if it is happening anyway, the pragmatic approach has to be taken. This is hurting the credibility not only of the game but of India and Pakistan," he added.
Mani said he was "very sad, disappointed and hurt" as the 'spot-fixing' scandal emerged during the Lord's Test but dismissed the notion that Pakistani cricketers are among the worst-paid on the international circuit and so more prone to corruption.
"All cricketers round the world get paid well. Even Pakistani players are exceedingly well paid relative to the standard of living in their country. There is no excuse (for corruption) apart from sheer greed," he said.
"There are cultural issues. If a player comes from a very under-privileged background and makes the big time, he needs a lot of mentoring, a lot of support and education. Players need to be educated about the ethics of cricket, the values of the game, the bigger things that this great game is about. Without that, it's so easy for them to get sidetracked," he added.
Mani, who was also Pakistan's representative to the ICC for seven years, said PCB had failed to get anti-corruption message to its players.
"We have to be honest – there has been a failure in the system in Pakistan here and certainly Pakistan should be accountable to the ICC to explain how it's gone so wrong.
"When players first come into the international game, they are given a one-to-one induction (by the ICC) on how they might be compromised. But the Pakistan board is clearly not getting the message through to its players. The onus is on the PCB to explain how players under its control could behave like this."
First Published: Sep 14, 2010 19:19 IST