Cheating the Game: How Does Match Fixing Work in Cricket?

Match fixing certainly isn’t a new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination. For as long as there’s been organised sport, there’s been cheating. Similarly, for as long as there’s been sports betting, there’s been match fixing.

We’ve all heard of it, but what is match fixing and how does it work? Well, it works differently in different sports, but the gist of it is the same. Essentially, it comes down to an individual, or individuals, who are involved in a match deliberately influencing the outcome of the game for a monetary reward.

It may be a player that deliberately performs poorly in order to ensure that a match is lost, or a match official that makes biased and unjustified decisions to ensure that there is a specific outcome.

The same applies to cricket – the culprit may be a player from either team or the umpire in charge of making the all-important decisions.

Match Fixing in Cricket

Match fixing is all about subtly – it’s about doing things that go undetected. For a player, if they’re throwing a match, it may be simply making it seem as if they’re having a bad day. They may be missing catches or allowing balls to cross the boundary; they may be batting poorly and get themselves out straight away. Regardless of how you do it, it’s all about whether or not it seems believable.

As an umpire, subtly is more difficult to achieve since it’s not about your ability, it’s about your judgement. Unlike a player, it’s not acceptable for an umpire to simply have a bad day – that is, knowing which calls to make something a good umpire will inherently know.

Indeed, match fixing as an umpire is also far more difficult to achieve without getting caught out, especially in modern cricket. Firstly, unlike other sports, cricket moves at a slow pace, lasting hours, if not days. The slower the sport, the easier it is for umpires and spectators to notice faults. It’s not like football where the game only lasts 80 minutes and it moves rapidly. In addition, unlike many other sports, the umpire almost always has an unobscured view, so not being able to see exactly what happened simply isn’t an excuse for making poor decisions.

Furthermore, these days, umpires and players are able to review decisions made during matches. Additional match officials will also view the footage from several different angles and give the umpire their opinions on which call is the right one to make. Thus, unlike the old days, the moment has never just passed – you can always go back and check.

Match fixing has happened though, despite the difficulty involved – perhaps just on a smaller scale, as more of a helping hand to the team in favour rather than a complete clean sweep. Unlike when you enjoy the fair and monitored gambling online NZ has to offer, it’s harder to regulate -but when caught out, the repercussions are vast.

The penalties are massive – not only will perpetrators be banned from the sport, but they’ll face legal consequences too. And many have – just look at Hansie Cronje’s disgraced career.

Thus, match fixing is a plausible reality, but in cricket, it’s fairly difficult to execute successfully.