MS Dhoni Image Credit: PTI

Dubai: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has extended a match-fixing crackdown on their regional leagues.

An inquiry into this season’s Tamil Nadu Premier League revealed that suspected match-fixers had approached a few players.

An owner of a team in another state-level Twenty20 competition, who was also involved with a few other leagues, has been arrested in Bengaluru and is being quizzed over his possible role in fixing matches. Regional leagues were doing a lot of good for cricketers. This incident could lead to leagues not getting approved or even cancelled, and the loss will be for budding cricketers who would lose a platform to display their skills and get noticed.

One can never determine the intention of a businessman when he comes forward to back the game or a league. But it is a fact that businessmen will always look to invest in profit-making ventures, be it cricket or any other activity. Only a few businessmen spend money for the sheer love of the game. And the UAE is blessed with many such cricket enthusiasts who not only sponsor tournaments, but also give jobs to talented players in their organisation or donate cricket kits to needy youngsters. So when these owners invest in a league, they would not cause any harm to the game simply because they would never have the intention to sully the image of the game by indulging in illegal activities.

Once the International Cricket Council (ICC), while explaining their anti-corruption activities to journalists, had pointed out that everyone will need to be on guard always since bookies are constantly on the move to corrupt the game. Bookies normally eye owners who come with the intention of swelling their earnings as they can be the ones to fall prey easily to temptations.

Limited over cricket, especially the T20 leagues, needs protection. League organisers must ensure not to make anyone an owner of a team without a due diligence carried on him. There must be a thorough study on the owners’ background and all his activities before them becoming a part of a league. Many leagues around the world have been hit because of wrong owners. Even India’s popular Indian Premier League (IPL) could not be protected, despite all its resources. This resulted in the 2013 spot fixing scandal leading to two teams being banned for two years. It destroyed the career of a fine bowler like India’s Shanthakumaran Sreesanth. Attempt to corrupt Pakistan’s Super League snapped the rise of their opener Sharjeel Khan.

Bookies or corrupt owners are not concerned about the game or a cricketer’s career. So if organisers of all leagues are able to stop owners, however rich they maybe, without a history of backing cricket for the love of the game, these leagues will remain clean.