A tiny minority of cricket players are drawn into malpractice but it’s the skilled ‘world-class’ offenders who make it difficult to defend the integrity of the game. The book ‘Cricket Corruption: The Guilty Named and Shamed’ celebrates the achievements of those players but also draws attention to the grey-areas of their careers, which often resulted in a life-ban or imprisonment. The bigger they come, the harder they fall, with all the added disgrace of lengthy police interrogation, days in the dock of the Old Bailey, and the anxiety and depression that comes with it all.
Cricket’s reputation has been dragged through the mud in recent years after a number of high profile players have been exposed – and in many cases jailed – for match or spot-fixing. From the shocking revelations in 2000 of test-captains Hansie Cronje, Mohammad Azharuddin and Salim Malik, to the mysterious death of coach Bob Woolmer and Pakistani fast-bowler Mohammad Amir, who endured a five year ban from 2011 and yet re-took centre stage at Lords this summer, writer J. L. Nicholls traces the background, the motivations and the consequences which have led to forty-two international players being seduced by the underground network of bookies and punters.
Nicholls begins by outlining his theories on the sources of corruption, highlighting the billion pound betting industry that is at the centre of every game. In the United Kingdom there are legal betting stations and bookies present at all matches and so much of the black market dealings originate from countries like India – where it is illegal to bet on a game – where match-fixing has become an enormous industry spreading its tentacles across the globe thanks to technology. Nicholls takes the reader on an epic world cricket tour as each chapter focuses on the corruption issues experienced by each cricketing nation—from Australia to India, Sri Lanka and South Africa—identifying the key players embroiled in considerable palm-greasing. Although quick to highlight that it’s only a minority of players who are drawn into this dangerous practice, Nicholls warns that it is these few who are at the top of their game and who are able to ruin the respectability and compromise the positive influence in spreading the values of good sportsmanship and integrity. Nicholls concludes by offering a direct clear warning to up-and-coming cricketers to be aware of predators, not to be motivated by external rewards and to remind them of the anxiety, depression and personal disgrace which will follow when eventually they will get caught.
Compulsive reading Cricket Corruption: The Guilty Named and Shamed will bowl over not only sports fans but readers interested in international corruption and real-life crime.
About the author: After working in the civil service for over forty years, J. L. Nicholls is now retired and living in Llandudno, North Wales, where he regularly volunteers with a local organisation supporting people with learning disabilities. Cricket has been a life-long passion, whether playing for his local club or watching on the sidelines. Nicholl’s first book Last Man Standing: The History of the Llandudno Cricket Club was published by Consilience Media, July 2015. Cricket Corruption: The Guilty Named and Shamed by J. L. Nicholls (published by Consilience Media 26th, September 2016, RRP TBC paperback and ebook) will be available to buy online from retailers including amazon.co.uk and can be ordered from all good bookstores.
Once we here at Fours n Sixes has finished the book we’ll be giving our thoughts on it as well of course.