This is shock­ing, but noth­ing shocks any­more

Mercury (Hobart) - - CRICKET - ROBERT CRAD­DOCK Cricket writer

THE dis­tress­ing thing about cricket’s top all-rounder be­ing banned for in­ter­act­ing with a dodgy book­maker is that no one seems dis­tressed by it.

Not cricket fans (out­side Bangladesh). Not of­fi­cials. Or even the me­dia. Col­lec­tively we are punch drunk over the cor­rup­tion is­sue.

Noth­ing shocks any­more

— even if it should.

Bangladesh’s su­per­star all­rounder Shakib Al Hasan has been banned for a year by the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil for fail­ing to re­port three ap­proaches from a book­maker whose deal­ings have long been a fo­cus of the game’s cor­rup­tion po­lice. The tone of the What­sApp mes­sages from Dubai book­maker Deepak Ag­gar­wal to Shakib were, quite frankly, dis­turb­ing.

It’s not as if Ag­gar­wal started with “let me in­tro­duce my­self …’’ In­stead he wrote in Jan­uary last year: “Do we work in this or I wait un­til IPL?” and, the equally in­trigu­ing, “Bro any­thing in this se­ries?”

He cer­tainly didn’t sound l i ke a stranger to the man he was con­vers­ing with. One of the mes­sages asked for Shakib’s bank ac­count de­tails be­fore Shakib told the bookie he wanted to meet him “first’’.

Some peo­ple have crit­i­cised the ICC for fail­ing to con­clude whether there was any deeper links be­tween the two but there was a hint of Al Capone’s tax-eva­sion charges with this one. The ICC nailed the charges that were be­yond dis­pute.

What hap­pened be­yond the ini­tial con­tact is not known and we make no ac­cu­sa­tions. But it must be said the oneyear ban still seems like a pa­thet­i­cally light sen­tence.

Af­ter his sen­tence was an­nounced, Shakib said all the right things about work­ing with au­thor­i­ties and help­ing young­sters avoid sim­i­lar traps, but noth­ing he said changed the think­ing that if any­one should have been above this sort of rub­bish it was him.

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