Is Condon cricket's super cop?

Written by: S K Sham
Published: Thursday, June 29, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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The biggest let-down in the whole sordid betting and match-fixing episode is the International Cricket Council (ICC), who for the third time in less than a year, have failed to match words with deeds. Even the little that the world body hinted at doing had racist overtures.

A tough-talking ex-cop has been allowed to take over from the benign officials, whose fiat has run only in picking the so-called chuckers from amongst the bowlers in Asia and sending them through a correction house.

At the meeting of the ICC held last Monday, in London, which saw Jagmohan Dalmiya relinquish his presidential post, a former London metropolitan police chief Paul Condon was appointed to head the anti-corruption body set up to eradicate match-fixing from the game.

Condon 53, is the first outside director appointed by the ICC. He has been given a free hand and wide powers through to the next World Cup due in South Africa in 2003 to stamp out match-fixing from the game. A tall order this.

"I have got a lot of reading to do and several people to see. I will appoint the best persons to resolve the issue. They will include investigators and the game's experts," he said in an interview, soon after his appointment.

Although an ex-cop, Condon admitted he had no policing powers, but did have the benefit of a network of senior colleagues throughout the world. One is not sure whether this has reference to the investigating agencies that are working feverishly to unravel the truth of the matter of Indian players' involvement in the match-fixing controversy.

"No one is sacred and no one will be shielded," the former police commissioner, who is said to have had a distinguished professional career, said. He himself contradicted this profound statement, as soon as he had uttered it.

Condon said that his first tasks were to investigate whether the two matches in the last World Cup in England (Pakistan vs India and Pakistan vs Bangladesh) were indeed "fixed."

He further submitted that he would also probe the charge that the Pakistani umpire Javed Akhtar was bribed to give erroneous decisions in the first Test which South Africa lost to England last year.

Is this all that Condon's brief contains, and all against just India and Pakistan?

What a shame that neither the newly-appointed ICC president, Malcolm Gray, nor the ex-police chief even touched upon the many disgraceful acts admittedly committed by former South African captain Hansie Cronje through his unholy alliance with bookies in India and back home.

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