Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Bookies take a fresh look at cricket markets after Pakistan controversy

Bookmakers are to review what bets they offer on cricket matches in the light of the recent allegations surrounding Pakistani players which have yet to be proven.

Easy money lies at the heart of all sports event-fixing and will never be eliminated while illegal betting bookmaking exists on the Indian Subcontinent.

Firms will now have a fresh look at certain markets with Charlie McCann of Stan James stating: “We have already clamped down on some markets but we don’t want to get paranoid.

“It’s time for reflection and we are going to sit down and examine what in-play markets we’ll be offering in the future.

“We need to be more prudent and watchful when it comes to betting on things like the next batsman to be dismissed or the number of runs to be scored in the next over.”

In-play betting is very popular in football, cricket, tennis, rugby and snooker just to mention a few sports.

Spot-fixing — on specific happenings in a game — is more prevalent than actual match-fixing as it does not necessarily impinge on the official result.

The latest furore, involving the fourth Test between England and Pakistan, and further allegations surrounding the upcoming one-day series has left a bitter taste in the mouths of those who cherish the best traditions of cricket.

Ever since the explosion in gambling and the plethora of markets presented by competing bookmakers and spread firms, the doors have been flung open to a myriad of cheats and those with an eye on the main chance.

The problem is added to by the relatively low rewards for Pakistani players, around £30,000 a year. Temptation is therefore obvious, however wrong.

Several firms have been quick to allay fears about corruption, pointing the finger firmly at the illegal industry in Pakistan and India, where thousands of pounds often change hands on the outcome of who will win the toss.

The chances of profiting from alleged wrong-doing, in Ireland and the UK, is restricted.

Getting big money on is far from easy and all firms have their own ‘alarm’ systems that are quick to highlight unusual betting patterns.

But it has to be said that layers do leave themselves open by issuing markets that are easily exploited.

And ironically, one of them — winning the toss — which is fairly straightforward, they have disposed of.

Unless a two-headed coin is used surreptitiously, the toss is witnessed and one player has to call. He or she has only a 50 per cent chance of being right — the fairest bet in town.

Some layers are reluctant to price up the forthcoming Twenty20 and 50-over One-Day clashes, but with the tour continuing, they will come round in the next day or so.

Meanwhile, England’s next Test match is in the Ashes series Down Under in November.

Andrew Strauss’s men are 5-2 to win the series with the Aussies 3-4 and 5-1 the draw.

Kevin Pietersen is the surprise 6-1 joint-favourite with Australia’s opener Simon Katich to be the top run-scorer in the series. Pietersen scored only 140 runs in six innings against the Pakistanis.

Belfast Telegraph

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