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The big downside of quickfire Twenty20
CAN we be absolutely sure that yesterday's Twenty20 match at the Emirates Durham ICG was not the subject of an attempted fix?
Leicestershire provided the opposition and ex-wicketkeeper Paul Nixon has claimed that when they visited two years ago, on the occasion of Durham's record T20 total, he had been offered £5m to fix the game.
A year earlier Durham's home game against Essex in the 40-over league was found to be tainted by visiting paceman Mervyn Westfield's acceptance of cash to bowl poorly, which led to him being jailed for four months.
Nixon's revelation comes from his autobiography, via a Sunday newspaper, and he says that despite Durham rattling up 225 for two it was good to head home with a clear conscience after he and his team-mates turned down the offer.
It was supposed to have come from an Indian he names only as K, who would pay a certain amount if Leicestershire lost the first six overs, more if Nixon could influence the toss and £5m if he could fix the result.
Nixon says he reported the matter to the ICC's anti-corruption unit and one of their officers flew from Dubai to see him, but he didn't hear from them again.
The man known as K apparently alleged that four other counties were involved and that the Indian Premier League was tainted by fixing, which comes as no surprise.
The Durham v Leicestershire match in question was televised by Sky, making it available to an audience in India, where the underground betting market is said to be worth billions.
We can rest assured that yesterday's match wasn't tainted because it wasn't televised, but Nixon's revelations merely fuel the long-held suspicion that the growth of Twenty20 cricket would corrupt the sport.
As long as proper cricket retains its integrity, should we really care about what goes on behind the scenes in T20?
It helps the counties to balance their books but in essence it's just a piece of trivial entertainment.