The coronavirus pandemic has brought the cricketing world to a standstill as the last cricket match that was played was back on March 15. This was a game that took place in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and since them domestic and international cricketers from around the world have been quiet.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has sent out a warning stating that while the cricketers have been quiet, a number of known match fixers have been very active on social media. The ICC Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has been keeping a close watch on individuals who have a shady reputation for fixing matches and found that they are targeting cricketers who are active on social media during this time.
They are using this time to approach cricketers and try to build a relationship. This is the general modus-operandi of bookmakers as they never directly introduce themselves as a fixer. They build a relationship by establishing themselves as influential people who can help players get lucrative sponsorship deals and contracts with big brands. Players end up trusting these individuals and it is only then that an approach is made to spot fix or match fix!
No Cricket – No Money
ACU chief Alex Marshall said that this was a very tough time for cricketers, especially those involved in the domestic circuit as no cricket means they will be getting little to no money coming in. This made it a very opportunistic time for match fixers as it makes it easier for them to lure players with the promise of big money.
The ICC has been working hard to weed out corruption from cricket and educate players from all over the world about match fixers and the way they work. While the top international cricketers will not feel a pinch in their finances, the domestic cricketers and fringe players will be vulnerable to these match fixers who are looking to make the most of this opportunity.
The ICC remains confident that its efforts to combat match fixing and educate players over the consequences of match fixing will hold up during these tough times. The ICC is once again cautioning players to be aware of who is approaching them on social media. Cricket players have been told to immediately report any approaches made to spot fix or match fix. The ICC has not reported any new match or spot fixing approaching during this downtime.
Indian Cricket Tainted By Match Fixing
It is a known fact that match fixers pay special attention to the Indian cricket market as it is the most lucrative cricket market in the world. India is home to a population of over 1.3 billion people and the majority of them are avid cricket lovers.
Indian cricket has been tainted over the years as match fixers have managed to sway both players and team owners. Some of the players who have been targeted by match fixers include former captain Mohammad Azharuddin, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Manoj Prabhakar and Sreesanth.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) saw two of its popular franchises in the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) suspended for two years after it came to light that the team owners had connections to known match fixers.
The Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) and the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) have also been tarnished with serious match fixing allegations going back to the last couple of seasons.
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly has confirmed that the BCCI ACU is also keeping a close watch on players and are confident that if any of the Indian players are approached, they will immediately report the same to the ACU.
Indian Players Very Active On Social Media
The top Indian cricket players are usually active on social media but with all the downtime they are now spending a lot more time on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Just to give you an idea of how popular the top Indian cricketers are on Instagram: Virat Kohli has 54.7 million followers; MS Dhoni has 22.4 million followers; Rohit Sharma has 13.1 million followers; KL Rahul has 5.6 million followers and H Pandya has 10.8 million followers.
Indian players have been told that match fixers will create fake social media handles and approach them in the disguise of fans, gain their confidence and then make them an offer to spot fix or match fix!