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Wednesday, 12 April, 2000, 13:02 GMT 14:02 UK
How to be corrupt in cricket
Arrested Delhi businessman Rajesh Kalra
Delhi businessman Rajesh Kalra, accused of corruption
You don't have to persuade all 11 players to throw a match to make illicit money from cricket.
Example of a spread bet
Bookmaker says a player will score 40-45 runs.
Punter expects a higher result, and "buys" at 5 (he can choose his own stake).
He wins or loses his stake multiplied by the difference between prediction and result.
If the player scores 60 runs, the punter wins 75. (60 - 45 = 15 x 5 = 75).
If the player scores only 38 runs, the punter loses 35 (45 - 38 = 7 x 5 =35).

The rise of spread betting makes it much easier for corrupt players, gamblers or bookmakers to make a killing on a match.

In "traditional" fixed odds betting, a punter can usually put money only on which team will win the game, or who will be top batsman.

But spread betting allows you to bet on much smaller events, such as how may runs an individual player will score or how many wickets a bowler will take.

This is great fun for fans. It is also harder to predict and therefore potentially more profitable for all concerned.

But it also widens the scope for corrupt money-making.
Hansie Cronje
The disgraced South African denies match fixing

Alan Alger, of City Index, says: "It doesn't take a whole team to fix a particular market.

"One or two players can decide to have an off day and benefit accordingly."

Graham Cowdrey, former Kent batsman and now cricket expert for Sporting Index, agrees.

"It can only be said that spread betting does encourage corruption, because it has so many more markets," he says.

However, he points out most of the corruption by players which has so far been proved has been relatively venial.

Mark Waugh admitted giving pitch information

Just over a year ago, for example, Australian cricketers Shane Warne and Mark Waugh admitted offering a Sri Lankan bookmaker weather and pitch information.

"It was a wicked thing to do," Mr Cowdrey explains, "because for a bookmaker, or punter come to that, information like that would be crucial.

"But there is a huge distinction to be drawn between that and rigging the results of the game."

Disgraced South African captain, Hansie Cronje, who has admitted dishonesty, faces the more serious allegation that he rigged an entire one-day match.

Golden boy of Australian cricket Shane Warne tarnished his reputation

That would have involved influencing at least some of the players, three of whom are also facing the same allegations.

And it would have benefited the allegedly corrupt bookmakers or gamblers whether in the spread betting or traditional fixed-odds market.

But despite all the concerns over spread betting and corruption in cricket, Mr Cowdrey retains his faith.

"I was involved in playing for 15 years, admittedly at a much lower level, and I never saw anything like that," he says.

"And as a firm, if we ever suspected anyone was rigging the results, we would stop trading on the game immediately."

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See also:

11 Apr 00 | Cricket
A gentleman's game?
11 Apr 00 | Cricket
Cricket under scrutiny
09 Dec 98 | Cricket
Aussie duo come clean
15 Sep 99 | Cricket
NZ reveal match fix plot
12 Sep 99 | Cricket
Test players 'offered 1m bribe'
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