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Five ways to prevent foul play in Pakistan cricket
Corruption in Cricket

Five ways to prevent foul play in Pakistan cricket

Granted, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) can't be responsible for everything related to match-fixing and spot-fixing as players often act on their own accord, but they can still take several measures to prevent such incidents.

Education and Awareness

Right from the under 16 level, players active in the domestic circuit ought to be provided with formal (in case they don't have access to it) alongside informal education. PCB could mull offering ethics and conduct courses following Cricket Australia suit and make enrollment mandatory for all players. Passing these courses shall serve as a prerequisite to play at the highest level.

Being the central industry for cricket in Pakistan, PCB must keep aside budget for an education center with a concurrent brick and mortar and online presence. Budding cricketers could use these facilities to learn soft skills, get access to workshops, inspiring talks and get briefed on ICC and Pakistan Cricket Board’s Anti-Corruption Code. They shall study diverse academic disciplines and apply the gained knowledge in their career and life in general.

Taking into account the diversity and pluralism in our country, legal documents and educational resources shall be made available in all regional languages and in an easily comprehensible form. Furthermore, we cannot underscore the importance of grooming a well-rounded personality and fostering praiseworthy personal virtues, along with harboring a global mindset in players that will help broaden their horizons and prevent players from poor life choices. In addition, inculcating values of integrity, dignity, responsibility, honesty, and fair-mindedness is PCB's responsibility as an institution.

The 1.10 clause of PCB anti-corruption code states, 'Without prejudice to any of the foregoing, the PCB shall be responsible for promoting awareness of and education regarding the Anti-Corruption Code amongst all Participants.'. This facet has clearly not been implemented in letter and spirit as we continue to see new corruption cases surface up, for instance, the last prominent case of Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Lateef during the Pakistan Super League 2017 edition.

 Mohammad Asif was found guilty in the 2010 spot-fixing saga

Mohammad Asif was found guilty in the 2010 spot-fixing saga

Grievances Redressal

We must understand that financial satisfaction is a stronger determinant of overall life satisfaction in developing nations such as Pakistan, as opposed to industrialized nations where esteem needs are often prioritized more. Thus, pouring money at the domestic level is instrumental to ward off players' financial security worries.

Come to think of it, people who emphasize 'immensely' on valuing money and wealth are likely to make more unethical choices. That said, a comprehensive compensation structure in our country is essential to keep all sportsmen extrinsically motivated. It will not only discourage players from trudging down the wrong path but it will also give players peace of mind—they would be considering their long term careers instead of cashing in on their International cricket matches that are often limited for many players and that fact, in turn, lures some sportsmen to accept money from illegitimate sources.

Pay disputes, incentives and increments, NOCs to play leagues and county cricket, compensation and benefits, work culture complaints—and all those routine Human Resources issues shall be dealt on a priority basis. It can be a tough ask catering to the needs of a large pool of players who come from all corners of Pakistan but self-managing teams in all cricketing zones could help avoid bureaucracy and hierarchical challenges in this regard.

Leadership and Management

"Leaders inspire people through a shared vision and create an environment where people feel valued and fulfilled," said Randy Stocklin, co-founder and CEO of One Click Ventures. PCB should take it upon themselves to identify leadership potential in players. They may train players with leadership inclinations and then assign them leadership roles systematically. 

Captain of the team should become a role model in every sense of the word. They are not just bound to marshall troops on the field but they must exhibit emotional intelligence and also take a keen interest in understanding each player's mindset, goals and know what motivates them.

Instead of close supervision, PCB can lessen disreputable behaviors by creating an ethical environment and making ethics a shared value. Close monitoring of players might be necessary in many cases although overdoing that may jeopardize the trust between PCB management and players.

At PCB, dynamic administrators such as Wasim Khan must act as an inspiration for ethical behavior. Higher-ups should reward ethical behaviors shown by players and set high expectations for the level of ethics. Also, PCB shall devise teams and empower them for the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Code and their polices in all districts.

Stronger bonds among cricket fraternity

Pakistan Cricket Board must work on developing their public relations front and actively involve former players, sports journalists, avid fans of the game, and other stakeholders in the policymaking. They could put in place a mechanism for connecting with the fan base and take their input in devising strategic goals. 

  Salman Butt outside the Southwark Crown Court during his trial

 Salman Butt outside the Southwark Crown Court during his trial

A close-knit cricket community will keep the current players' headspace positive as the former legends could mentor and inspire the current and the future crop of players. Thus, a feeling of family and ownership will help develop great sportspersons.

Reward those who report bookmaker's approach

It seems unfeasible for the PCB to oversee all the happenings at domestic level as their headquarters are based in Lahore and there isn't a vibrant presence of officials in all cities. Thus, making it difficult for a player to contact in case of corruption approach. Specifically rewarding players who promptly report approaches from bookies will lead to lower levels of criminal behaviors.

PCB may set up a hotline to report foul play which could assist expedite the process of prosecuting delinquents. Finally, the severity of punishment should have no bearing on the level of cricket at which crime was committed in order to set exemplary precedents.

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