Last year was a successful year for English cricket, but cricket’s world-wide reputation was tarnished. When three Pakistan players; Mohammed Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammed Asif, were found guilty of spot-fixing, it shook the cricketing world right to it’s very core – today English cricket had it’s very own wake up call on a matter that is becoming all too familiar.
Just as the national team are embarking upon one of their toughest tours in recent times in Dubai, the spotlight was firmly fixed on Essex, and in particular Mervyn Westfield who was today found guilty of spot-fixing.
Westfield will surely feel the full force of the judicial system when he is charged later this month.
It comes at a bad time for the game. Just as the world’s cricketing scene was getting over the actions of the Pakistan side during their tour here last summer, it has been hit with another huge blow.
The 23 year-old pace-man had much going for him. He was a talent likely to play a huge part in Essex’s future. For the sake of £6,000, he has ruined that chance. My guess is that he won’t play in this country again – if that is the case then he can only blame himself.
I imagine this won’t be the last we hear of spot-fixing on the county circuit.
In big picture terms, English cricket now needs to take stock and realise that it can no longer point the finger elsewhere. The game in this country needs a severe dressing down to make sure that any sort of fixing in the future is quelled.
Last summer it seemed okay to look at the Pakistan Cricket Board and blame them for not doing enough to stop spot-fixing – surely this now applies to the same people all around the world. This latest case will undoubtedly open the eyes of many to the fact spot-fixing could be rife within the game.
Without stereotyping, it was almost expected of Pakistan following their corrupt history in the sport – this shouldn’t be happening in England where we do so much to stop such a thing happening – obviously we are not doing enough. There is only so much you can do though; at some stage the individual must take responsibility for their own actions.
Now cricket finds itself under siege once more, and so it should. The legitimacy of the sport is sure to be questioned again.
Let’s hope England’s series against Pakistan is talked about for it’s good cricket and not the wagers that are placed on the result of it.