Michael Atherton, the former England Test Cricketer, has written that the spot-fixing expose in the recently conducted stint by the broadcaster Al Jazeera, has made him extremely worried about the sanctity of our beloved sport.
The Al Jazeera programme "Cricket's Match Fixers", broadcasted on Sunday, alleged incidents of spot-fixing in the Chennai Test between England and India in December 2016 and the Australia-India Test in Ranchi in March 2017, as a bookie was seen speaking about the involvement of three England players and two Australian players, in spot-fixing the game. The names of the players were muted in the video for the legal reasons by the platform.
Atherton in his column for The Times newspaper has written, "When it comes to betting and fixing, dangers are ever present. There is a massive black-market operation in India worth many billions of pounds, the game, especially around the fringes and where there are enormous discrepancies in earning potential, is vulnerable. But highly paid international players in very visible, high-profile matches? In this case, I remain highly skeptical,"
"Since the match-fixing crisis of the 1990s, the awareness among players of the problem of fixing, the potential consequences (time in jail and five years out of the game for Mohammad Amir, remember, for nothing more than a newspaper sting) and stringent controls around dressing rooms by the ICC have made it much less likely to be a problem in international cricket. The players are paid too well (especially those from India, England and Australia). They have too much to lose,"
The administrators from the two boards, ECB and Cricket Australia have reacted to the documentary. Tom Harrison, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive, said in a statement that, "There is nothing we have seen that would make us doubt any of our players in any way whatsoever,"
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland also reacted by stating, "Together with the ICC, we are aware of the investigation by Al Jazeera into alleged corruption in cricket, Neither the ICC nor Cricket Australia is aware of any credible evidence linking Australian players to corruption in the game,"