23 September, 2018

Blog

Al-Jazeera Headline Smash-Hits Discard Cricketing Sense & Gambles

By Michael Roberts

Dr. Michael Roberts

The Al-Jazeera Video Report on alleged pitch-doctoring at the Galle Test Matches in the recent past as steps in betting scams has grabbed the sporting headlines and generated an investigation. The sensationalist impact has skewed and dulled the minds of reporters and administrators alike. Cricketing acumen has gone out of the window. 

No one has raised an immediate question: given that matches in Galle have generally produced results (usually in favour of the home side), how can gamblers win by betting on a draw? And how can they skew the result in favour of the spinner-laden home side when they cannot control the result of the toss?

The TOSS. This factor ahs been tossed out of the window by every reporter riding the slip stream of the Al Jazeera smash and grab. 

This consideration, and the character of the guys initiating the claims in front of the Al-Jazeera reporters – especially Robin Morris and his style, immediately indicated to me that Al-Jazeera was being taken for a ride. Not that David Harrison and Company would have minded that. They wanted a scoop and Sri Lanka’s political record in recent years rendered its people a juicy target for the orientations of the Al-Jazeera directorate. Thus, it was ripe for the WHAM-BANG juicy corruption tale spawned by Morris et al. 

The Australian and British press lapped it all up. They literally salivated and slashed. Peter Lalor of The Australian – a cricket analyst with a long record of hunting with both the hares and “the hounds – presented a tale with the headlines “Pitch doctors Fixed Test”. Not enough: he went further — the Al-Jazeera report confirmed his original report on the match in 2016 which read:  “Doctor’s tweaked Galle’s test pitch”.

The bare scores were meant to demonstrate these ‘facts.’

Sri Lanka 1st ins   = 286 runs 

Australia 1sr inns = 106 runs

Sri Lanka 2nd inns = 207 runs

Australia 2nd inns = 183 runs

So, yes, the pitch clearly favoured bowlers and the details reveal that the spinners were the main destroyers, a standard feature at Galle. 

However, there are two Buts” that any person with cricketing acumen should raise in responding to the betting/doctoring claims postulated by Al-Jazeera and Robin Morris. 

1. How did the conspirators make sure that Sri Lanka won the toss? And what were the precise lines of the betting—when and what?

2. How is it that Sri Lanka scored 207 runs in their 2nd innings after Australia scored only 106? If the pitch was doctored devilish, how is it the sequence of scores indicate that?

That Australian reporters should buy the Al-Jazeera tale and cry foul is not surprising. The intellectual strands of what Edward Said called “Orientalism”—where the power-brokers of Western civilisation depicted Asia and the rest as degenerate and treacherous – remain alive today, , albeit in weaker strains. Peter Lalor, therefore, can claim to be a descendant of a ‘rich’ intellectual lineage.

However, what is surprising is that so many Sri Lankan and Indian journalists bought the story and ran with it; and that cricket journalists did not spot the shortcomings in the reportage. That the Sri Lanka cricket authorities immediately dismissed the two Sri Lankan story tellers and initiated an investigation is reasonable enough. Indika and Mendis were joining Morris and Al-Jazeera in bringing the country into disrepute. 

My information is that Tharanga Indika is indeed a key official and curator of the Galle Cricket Club having succeed Warnaweera in 2015 when the latter was suspended. His friendship with Warnaweera immediately generates dubious strains because the latter has a tarnished reputation. However, Al-Jazeera’s indication that Tharindu Mendis was a cricketer from Galle is incorrect and one wonders why those experienced journalists did not check his background by simply visiting ESPNcricinfo. A lie on such issues should have raised concerns. 

But, when one is on to a sensational tale that is a headline grabbing scoop, well, then, such caution is discarded is it not? David Harrison and A-Jazeera smelt headline glamour and threw caution to the wind. They also by-passed one of the fundamental points in a cricket match: one cannot predict who will win the toss.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 11
    1

    Isnt it Tharindu Mendis the elder brother of another SL player in the current squad and this man secure his place just because a classmate of Namal baby at the school by the sea?

    These guys get all the corrupt political blessings to carry their crime whatever the cricketing public sentiments.

    • 0
      0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 2
      0

      Dr Roberts,

      I think you have a point.

      When every other establishment in the country possess pristine morals and ethics ………. how can there be corruption only in the Cricket establishment.

      Yes, match-fixing could never be in our national character.

  • 1
    13

    Darrel Hair incarnation? Another hair raising story from Al Jazeera. Thankfully we have vigilant scribes such as Prof Michael Roberts who can’t be fooled. I now tend to sympathisewith the Egyptian President who incarcerated the Al Jazeera reporters who escaped a long jail sentence due to various pressures.

    • 14
      0

      Match-fixing does take place in the real world, toss or no toss. While it is kind of Prof. Roberts to be patriotic all the way from Oz, maybe there are some things about the nitty-gritty of match-fixing that he doesn’t know.
      Some media have run with the story, but the sad fact is that Sri Lankan integrity on many matters is highly doubtful.

    • 10
      0

      Hi Percy, Any chance of your your full being, Percy Mahinda Rajapakshe ?

      You seem to be having a flair for incarceration of journalists ? Typical Rajapakshe Syndrome, not to mention terminations too.

    • 5
      0

      Percy the pathetic brain dead

      “David Harrison and A-Jazeera smelt headline glamour and threw caution to the wind. – Michael Roberts “

      Hence this must be another Channel 4/Western/Arab conspiracy to tarnish the character of war/cricket heroes and 2500 years of civilisation.

      BTW by any chance the other Percy or Basil seen near the pitch?

    • 1
      0

      “Thankfully we have vigilant scribes such as Prof. Michael Roberts who can’t be fooled”. Quite right, because a fool can only fool himself.

  • 9
    0

    Dr. Robert you are one of a kind, welcome back after an hiatus. People like you and other doctor DJ should thank these sites for allowing to write your spin under disguise of journalism. There are enough of boards, monitoring bodies and technology used to prevent any kind of abuse, cheating and match fixing, Still we hear doping and match fixing taking place in olympics, Cricket and other international sports. Lankans are no different from others, When you see corruption and money in every sector of life in Sri Lanka you want us to belief these sports administrators and officials ( not the players) are holy saints. Just look at thesports ministry including ex minister,cricket board and personal who represent. Do you want more????. Let the proper authorities look at this issue and give their opinion. . Until then please keep away from your attention seeking sensational writings and theories on this subject.I find Al Jazeera has more credibility than you reporting matters. At least they try to present matters with out bias and try to stay in course. You???

    • 0
      0

      It was said that the next match to be fixed is to be in November 2018. Obviously off now.
      .
      However a different question. Why has that England tour been fixed for that month? Isn’t that the second wettest month of the year – countrywide?

      .
      A few years ago New Zealand toured in that period. All washed out. That series could have been played in New Zealand.
      .
      I’m not going to develop that strand further; I’m sure there are others more competent.

  • 11
    0

    I find your purpose of writing this is malice, to discredit and throw mud at Al Jazeera (Doc any thing personal to get even) than actual love for the sports which is followed by millions around the world.Also I will like to remind you that Al Jazeera has been in business for more than 10 years and has received accolades and praise for their work and has lost personal trying to present the happenings to the world in far risky situations where others will not dare. This looks like a piece of investigative journalism and some idiot was willing to bite the hook.Lets wait and see. It may turn out to be a retard self boasting ( nothing really took place) just like you.

  • 11
    0

    Michael Roberts so you think there is no corruption inSri Lanka cricket or for that matter international cricket !!!
    If you watch the Al Jazeera report carefully, the betting starts only after the toss.
    Depending on who won the toss and who bat or bowl first the bets are palced.
    The pitch doctoring is also planned accordingly. The curator admits that during innings break they dont just brush the pitch but they dig the pitch deep.

  • 4
    0

    Whilst looking @ the comments made by Michael Roberts, which are direct extractions from the Aljazeera investigative journalist documentary, there is little doubt as to :

    1. The process of match fixing
    2. how the entire chain of command ( from chief administrators to minion players) are involved
    3. Doubts about how the ICC is still unaware of such deals
    4. Why the respective Cricket Boards are not addressing such issues

    It is noteworthy to draw attention to the fact that the ECB and CA has are looking at these findings very skeptically even after some of their players have being specifically named and identified.

    To me it culminates one and one thing only: that is
    1. You have cheaters everywhere
    2. You may have some genuine persons in-between

    I shall dig into some statistics of the past games and develop a hypothesis:

    Ho: Sri Lankan teams have not being cheating
    H1: There is some evidence that the Sri Lankan teams have being cheating

    Period of Analysis : 2005- 2017 ( last five years)

    Thus the testing of these hypothesis would be converted to a topic of a research study, provided there is adequate funding.

    Regards,

    Dharshana W

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 2
    0

    on a spinning wicket if sri lankas spinners are much better than the aussies
    does the toss matter?

  • 1
    1

    Pitch doctoring is funny as it seems because there are two sides playing.
    Of course, One side does NOT consist the deaf and the dumb………

    So…………How could a pitch be doctored to favour any particular side.
    Its 22 professionals playing….. Their aim is to WIN.

    • 0
      0

      Pitch doctoring, players doctoring (batting bowling, stumping), doping etc. happened in real world in favor of betting masters in all games in many countries. In Cricket, football, Tennis etc. we have seen match fixing which involves large sum of money transfer similar to that of Bond scam. In the recent bond scam, now we learn almost all the ministers from all political parties got money. In Cricket this may be the first instance it was caught but in our politics it is happening every day and from Top to bottom (President, Chief Justice to ordinary peon).

  • 1
    0

    ICC have now been given sufficient material for an investigation, thanks to Al Jazeera. Corruption in Sri Lanka cricket started with the Administrators and Management long time ago. Politicians too were responsible . When there is corruption right at the top, not surprising when it filters downwards with others involved with the game. The players with integrity who serve the country and the cricket loving public will be saddened by such corruption. Money is the root of all evil.

  • 0
    0

    Michael roberts: Are you selling Al JAzeera for Sri lankans ? IT looks that way. As far as I know it is funded by one specific spy agency., probably two. You know what I mean.

    • 2
      1

      Jim softy dimwit

      Why have you suddenly changed your name from Jim softy dimwit to JaL?

      • 0
        0

        What does a Tamil Vedda know about cricket? Try goondu.
        All he can do is quote other commentators and make remarks which he thinks are clever but fall flat most of the time. The type of smart arse who makes a silly comment which he thinks is smart, pricks up his ears to hear the applause! None forthcoming for this sad old guy with plenty of time on his hands. Buffoon!

  • 1
    0

    What You have done is mostly writing one word over and over again and giving a certain stim,ulus to the people, dumbinb Sri lankans.

  • 4
    0

    Wherever SL had a name and respect, Sri Lankans are screwing it up with idiocy and greed: Tea, Tourism, Cricket. Garmet Factories – Our success stories are short-lived

  • 0
    0

    We, the Lankan cricket supporters can see through the Lankan wicket tampering thingy.
    There is a tug-o-war on between two baddies. One side is trying to get world attention. Few way down in the hierarchy, will be sacrificed.
    Has not ICC accepted ‘doctoring’ of wickets is endemic and wish to do away with the famous coin toss?

  • 0
    0

    Exactly.. doesn’t mention about india vs SL match.. “pitch clearly favoured bowlers and the details reveal that the spinners were the main destroyers, a standard feature at Galle.” how come india end up scoring more than 600+?

  • 2
    0

    Isharath, That says a lot about our failed state and people who run and people who elect. I guess we only can pray for this country.

  • 0
    0

    In taking bets, the house (gambling parlors) will always win. Ask the President of the Cricket Board. He knows his business better than anyone else. With him as Head of the Cricket Board, I don’t think these issues are a big deal to him. Dedicated followers may find it thrilling to wager it, like so many others ready to risk it, then there will always be takers to host it. The bad thing though, is when players and groundsman are involved to force change in the course of the game to reap personal benefits, which undercuts the genuine supporters and followers of the game. The public will lose faith and confidence in individual talents, team skills and achieving records, as it will ultimately ruin the game and turn out only to be a farce. The game itself might as well be fallen in the wayside like race-by-race and ‘night race’ where only gamblers meet. Just look at how IPL and even all of the other major high stakes T20 tournaments around the world are being conducted with so much cricket. There could be much going on underneath to craft the outcome, which is hidden from the public view. Who can say for sure. Too much of cricket has lost its shine, and it is just not cricket anymore.

  • 0
    0

    Not-so-Breaking News. From today 01 June, SLC is under direct rule of the Minister of Sports. Will the Competent Authority pursue the wicket-doctoring or attend to more urgent instances of corruption/nepotism/impunity in SLC?

  • 1
    0

    Michael Roberts,

    I don’t think the outcome of the toss matters. Let me elaborate.

    Let’s say that Sri Lanka is playing Australia and that Sri Lanka has better spinners like Murali.

    All one has to do is to prepare a green pitch, which is favourable to spinners because the ball can be made to behave erratically on longer or wet grass.

    Sri Lanka wins no matter who wins the toss!

    Let me know if I am wrong.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.