The latest news of corruption in cricket will horrify most followers of the game, even if they may not be especially surprised to learn a team from the Indian subcontinent is again at the centre of allegations.
It's getting to the stage where you just can't rely on any result. And if the bookies haven't fixed the actual result of something, they're probably fiddling in some way. For example, nobody is seriously claiming the result of the Pakistan-England test was fixed. Instead, a certain number of deliveries in the game (at least three) were allegedly "bought" by bookies.
When I look back at some of the strange things that have gone on, I realise the bookmakers and betting syndicates may have been doing this for years.
You can see their influence as early as 326BC, when Alexander the Great faced the Hindu king Porus in the Battle of the Hydaspes River. Alexander was a legendary general, but there's no way he won that battle fair and square. Are we seriously meant to believe he sneaked over the river and outflanked the enemy without being detected? Either Porus was an idiot, or he took a dive. You decide. But isn't it somewhat convenient that after the battle Alexander allowed him to keep his title and lands, in return for his loyalty?
Some people have argued Alexander was the greatest military leader who ever lived. But I'll bet historians and archaeologists one day discover he had a long baggage train of Indian bookmakers following his army.
Another ancient battle I could never fathom was Cannae, in 216BC. There you had a vast and powerful Roman army (up to 80,000, depending on which ancient sources you believe), against maybe less than half that number led by Hannibal. In the end Hannibal's army outflanked the Romans, drove off their cavalry, and then annihilated them. Hannibal's tactics in this battle were either pure genius, or the whole thing was fixed. I'm just not sure why the Romans agreed to go along with it, because most of them were slaughtered. Mind you, one of the two Roman generals managed to escape, despite what must have been some pretty heavy bags. That gold would have weighed a tonne.
Hannibal's army was composed of a multitude of different races: Iberians, Africans, Gauls and Italians to name but a few. It would have been quite easy for a few bookies from the east to slip in unnoticed.
And what about the papal elections? I'm not saying the election of the current bloke was a complete fraud, although there have been some shock selections in the past. But I bet there would have been some serious money placed on when the white smoke would rise from the Sistine Chapel.
Talking of matters religious, how about that Jesus fellow? Gets nailed to a cross then turns up a few days later, apparently alive and well. Is anyone else thinking a few Roman soldiers might have been paid to look the other way? I understand that back in the day 30 pieces of silver was the going rate for selling someone out, but an operation like this would have been much more expensive, because of the number of people involved.
So this has been going on for years. Though if you think the cancer hasn't spread to this part of the world, think again. Our politicians continue to make decisions that defy all logic or reason. There is even a political party in Government whose policies seems to be designed to achieve the exact opposite of what they publicly claim. Can our politicians really be this inept? Or is something else going on? And why hasn't this been exposed by Ian Wishart? Or is he one of them? That would explain a lot of things.