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That's Not Cricket

Alan Smith

Hard to believe but cricket just isn't cricket anymore.

The game that seemed for many years to define the concept of fairness and honorable play has slipped into terrible disrepute.

The problems with match rigging and spot betting seem rife. It seemed to begin in Pakistan when three former Pakistan players - Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammed Aamir - were jailed over spot-fixing in the Lord's Test in England in 2010.

There were reports last week suggesting that English County cricket has a similar problem when Mervyn Westfield pleaded guilty of match fixing while playing for Essex. He now potentially faces a 7-year jail term after accepting a £6000 bung in a betting scam.

So bad has the whole sorry tale become that the ECB (English Cricket Board) has offered an amnesty to players and officials. The ploy similar to the classic prisoners dilemma, has been designed to flush out any further issues. In essence for those involved a number of choices appear possible. Keep quiet and hope everyone else does too. Keep quiet with the risk that others don't, and you suffer the consequences. Or come clean regardless and take the under estimated punishment of loss of face.

Thinking through the options and planning the release of the information that you have is a common dilemma for those who negotiate for a living. The negotiator must prepare what and how she is going to reveal information as well as the timing of it's release. It is lack of information that creates the need to negotiate at all. If you know everything then you propose at the opponents limit position and refuse to move.

Now that doesn't seem much fun. And it certainly isn't cricket.

Alan Smith

Alan Smith
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