May 26, 2013 Sports
Colin E. H. Croft
“Innocent until proven guilty!” This was coined by 19th century English barrister, Sir William Garrow.
How we interpret that, though, is the bigger problem!
A presumption of innocence is fundamental to modern civilization. We still operate under this overview, even now, when anything done or said is either photographed, made into a movie, or listened to!
With the advent of “New Media” – E-mail, Face-book, Twitter, Instagram – and cameras at every junction of life, nothing, apparently, can be hidden. Yet, there is always doubt and innocence!
Cricket, conversely, seems to handle legalize differently to every other walk of life.
Suggestions and allegations of either “match fixing”, more likely “spot fixing”, at Indian Premier League 2013 have cast massive clouds on a competition that has been excellent. It should be immediately noted that an entire event should not be dismissed as being shady, even if some elements are eventually found to be un-wholly.
That would be senseless, tantamount to discarding an entire automobile because it has bad tires or wind-shield wipers do not work. Simply, remove offending parts, if and when proved faulty!
Fixing a match result is very difficult to achieve. The entire team has to be complicit on that result.
Spot fixing, on the other hand, is relatively easier to complete, since this only includes one player, or very few, and only one, or very few incidents that could quickly change things in the game.
In legal situations, even for the worst offences – rape or murder – accused are allowed what is known as “their day in court”, when they would be allowed to present their side of events. Accused are even allowed to be “free”, on bail, to carry on relatively normal life, until the cases are called!
Also, the burden of proof of breaking any law is supposedly with the accuser.
Not so, it seems, in cricket!
In our beloved game, accused players are immediately criticized and ostracized, even completely barred from playing and earning a living, with only accusations having been made. How can this be fair in a supposedly fair society?
Does this instead mean that our game believes that anyone accused is guilty until proven innocent? Betting on sports has been in vogue as long as sports itself has been around!
Stories abound that bets were taken against soldier-messenger Pheidippides completing that long run, from the Battle of Marathon to Athens, in 490 BC, thus completing the first “marathon”, to announce that the Persians had been defeated. For his efforts, he then dropped dead!
If you attend ICC Champions Trophy 2013 in England next week, you will notice that there are many betting shops in and around all cricket grounds. People will bet on anything; any game; any time!
For international or highly visible players, the pitfalls are quite numerous and not always evident.
West Indian batsman Marlon Samuels, who maintains his innocence to this day, was actually banned from playing anywhere for two years, without any real proof whatsoever that he had done anything wrong.
His “crime”? Apparently, he was seen associating with a known bookie and accused of receiving spoils of such an association!
Now, Samuels and the rest of West Indies, indeed the rest of all teams at ICCCT2013, will be under scrutiny as perhaps never before.
With the IPL allegations, and recent upheaval of impropriety of Pakistani players in 2010, ICC would, surely should, be monitoring everything, and every player, like proverbial hawks!
Honesty in sports, though, comes down to every, single, individual player, even in a team sport.
Great past West Indies cricket teams consisted, like airplanes, bicycles, or any other mechanical object, of several, individual, sometimes moving parts – players – who contributed fully to the whole – team success!
I certainly would not have expected Vivian Richards, Gordon Greenidge or Clive Lloyd to bowl 30 overs per day and get five wickets. Similarly, neither of them would have expected me to get 100 runs. Some of my wickets, though, would have been effected by catches by those three!
That is what a team does!
Individual players, when properly honed and practiced, and correctly assembled, can always overcome as a collective. The responsibility of getting one’s self ready for sporting frays rests with that individual player.
West Indies must also now focus on cricket at Champions Trophy 2013 like never before!
This first team to be officially led by Dwayne Bravo into a world 50 overs competition has a great opportunity to emulate Lloyd’s World Cup winning teams of 1975 and 1979, and Brian Lara’s team which won ICC Champions Trophy 2004.
After winning ICC World T-20 2012, the sequence can continue for West Indies.
There is no room for complacency or time for adjustment, with only three games, against Pakistan, India and South Africa, before semi-finals!
Ramnaresh Sarwan was “Man of the Series” in 2004. He, Samuels, Dwayne and Darren Bravo, and Chris Gayle must carry the batting. Sunil Narine, Kemar Roach, Tino Best, Darren Sammy must lead the bowling!
West Indies must ignore everything that might be happening around them. Focus on the cricket! Enjoy!
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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