The Sharjah fixing-fiasco and the return of Indian Cricket to Gulf

The Sharjah fixing-fiasco and the return of Indian Cricket to Gulf

Remember the match fixing fiasco of 2000. Yes, the days when the integrity of the then Indian skipper and some of his players were questioned by the media and fans back home. BCCI’s force in the world cricket was commendable as the Indian side was banned from featuring in the games at Sharjah in 2001 and the venue didn’t host matches for 8 consecutive years (2003-2010). Cricket Tracker has a look at what changed the scenario of BCCI after 13 years that prompted them to move to a venue, which they banned 13 years ago.

The IPL governing council announced the fixtures of IPL 7 last wednesday and decided that the tournament will be held over 3 phases starting from April 16, 2013 to June 1, 2013. The first phase scheduled in the United Arab Emirates, that includes Dubai, Abu Dhabi and last but not the least, Sharjah has raised a few eyebrows.

In the wake of the recent match fixing scandal in IPL 6, that resulted in a year ban to life ban of a few cricketers, and a few more waiting in line to be trialed, it doesn’t justify the BCCI’s cause of moving the matches to an off-shore venue like Sharjah, that has been the hub of betting mafias since 1990.

It has been 13 years now and till Wednesday, BCCI maintained an unspoken rule of not allowing Indian teams (international, domestic and IPL teams) to feature in the matches to be held at Gulf venues. Even in the late 2010, Kings XI Punjab team management was given a reply by the IPL that the BCCI doesn’t recognise the UAE as an venue, when they demanded permission to play a few matches there, as one of their then sponsors was Fly Emirates.

Why??? Though the BCCI banned Gulf as a venue, they played two back-to-back matches against Pakistan at the Abu Dhabi Stadium in mid April, 2006. When BCCI was asked that why the matches were being shifted to UAE, in the wake of recent match fixing fiasco and the record of Sharjah as a betting hub, they said that things are definitely on the brighter side now and they will educate the players to stay away from bookies.

IPL commisioner, Rajiv Shukla even promised that the BCCI will slap life-ban on players, if they are indulged in any unclean acts during the IPL 7. The big question still remains: Will the IPL able to clean its image? Can the BCCI host the matches peacefully in Gulf? What will happen to the franchisee whose owner was found involved in match fixing? Only time will tell us the answers. Till then, keep your fingers crossed and pray for the best.