Melbourne, July 7 : The chairman of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), Sir Paul Condon, has told the global cricket board in Dubai that the Indian Premier League (IPL), with its millions of dollars on offer and lack of policing, has the potential to promote betting-led corruption.
The website -- Cricket Nirvana - quoted Condon as warning ICC executives that, "the IPL brings with it the biggest threat in terms of corruption in the game since the days of cricket in Sharjah".
According to The Age, the tournaments in Sharjah were strongly rumored to have been a hotbed for illegal bookmaking and match-fixing during the 1980s and 1990s, resulting in India banning its national team from playing there in 2001.
The ACSU has attempted to lessen the potential impact of corrupting influences by reducing meaningless one-day tournaments and implementing team and player rankings system. However, security officials feel that the Twenty20 format is counter-evolutionary.
They believe that Twenty20 internationals are being scheduled in a desultory manner, and have no points-based rankings system. In the IPL, a multi-million dollar tournament that falls outside the jurisdiction of the ACSU, the hype and publicity have attracted a legion of fans and, inevitably, a trail of illegal bookmakers, they warned.
The ACSU has been largely successful in restoring credibility to the game since the damaging match-fixing scandals that resulted in life bans to three international captains: Hansie Cronje, Salim Malik and Mohammad Azharuddin. Regular policing, a ban on communication devices within dressing rooms, a comprehensive player-education program and the rankings system are among the methods employed to minimise the impact of illegal bookmakers and their attempts to corrupt cricketers.
Cricket Australia is seeking to take the current rankings system and Future Tours Program a step further by repackaging Test, one-day and Twenty20 cricket. Chief executive James Sutherland revealed a plan to the ICC meeting whereby teams would compete in all three modes of the game over a four-year cycle, with finalists to play-off for a world championship trophy in each respective discipline.
He called on administrators not to allow Twenty20 cricket to consume the 50-over game and urged other member nations - notably India - to uphold the principle that international cricket is the pinnacle of the sport, not privately funded domestic Twenty20 leagues.