There has been no cricketing action in India for over a month now; as the global corona virus pandemic has brought India a complete shutdown. The IPL was expected to run from March 29 till May 3 but the BCCI and IPL governing body were forced to postpone the 13th edition.

ICC Says Match Fixers Active

While there is zero cricket taking place at both domestic and international level, match fixers are still very active. The ICC has sent out a cautionary warning claiming that known match fixers are looking to target cricketers via social media.

The ICC Anticorruption Unit (ACU) has been keeping a close watch on both cricketers and a few suspected matchfixers. Cricket’s governing body has stated that these match fixers usually create fake social media accounts and tend to approach cricketers as fans.

Once they establish a relationship, they slowly start to gain their trust by offering them rewards which can come in the form of sponsorship deals, contracts with big brands and promotional offers. When a certain level of comfort and trust is established, these individuals then try and convince the player to either spot fix or match fix for a specified sum of money which is usually a lot bigger than their match fees.

BCCI Watching Social Media Accounts

The IPL was supposed to bring in yet another big payday to both domestic and international players. While the top Indian cricketers will not be majorly impacted by the loss of IPL revenue, hundreds of domestic cricketers in India will be hurt financially as they depend heavily on their IPL pay check.

With no domestic cricketing taking place now, domestic cricketers in India have faced a dip in earnings. This makes it a perfect market for match fixers to approach Indian players and offer them large sums of money.

BCCI President Sourav Ganguly said that their BCCI ACU was aware of the warning issued by the ICC; he added that they have already adopted precautionary measures.

With the lockdown being extended in India, a lot of cricketers are taking to social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to not only post daily but also run live Q&A sessions with their fans, attend interviews and stay in touch with their fan base.  This makes it even easier for match fixers to gain access to cricketers and establish a link during these times.

The BCCI ACU has stated they have already educated Indian cricketers about how match fixing works and how cricketers are targeted in general by bookies. Indian cricketers at all levels have been told to immediately report any approaches made. They have also been instructed to report any suspicious individuals who try and get in touch with them.

The BCCI is confident that its program to eliminate match-fixing is strong enough; even under the pressure of COVID-19. As of now, the BCCI ACU has not reported any such approaches on social media or in person.

Difficult To Police Social Media

The BCCI ACU is confident that it has a robust system in place to protect its players. But it is a very difficult proposition to police the social media accounts of all Indian cricketers; especially at both domestic and international levels. The younger generation of Indian cricketers are on a number of social media platforms. This means that they can be susceptible to an approach! It will depend on the strength of their character to resist and report approaches.

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