PCB failing to get anti-corruption message to players: Mani

The former president of International Cricket Council Ehsan Mani has urged the organisation to take concrete and pragmatic steps to curb corruption in the game.

In an exclusive interview on the spot-fixing crisis in the October issue of The Wisden Cricketer magazine, Mani said: 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.

Mani, who led the world governing body as President from 2003-06 and was also Pakistan’s representative to the ICC for 7 years, said he was very sad, disappointed and hurt as the corruption allegations involving Pakistani players emerged during the Lord’s Test match.

And he dismissed the defence put forward by some that Pakistan’s cricketers are among the worst-paid on the international circuit.

All cricketers around the world are 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.

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.

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.

He also urged International Cricket Council to approach Indian Government to legalise gambling. With India acting as the global hub of illegal betting on cricket, Mani said the time is right for the ICC to ask the Indian Government to legalise gambling.

From what I understand, whenever India play a one-day match $200m to $300m will be bet, he told the magazine. 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. 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.

In Pakistan one might argue it is 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.