The issue of match and spot fixing in cricket is not in the headlines as much as it was last summer but it doesn’t mean that we should not be vigilant and keep looking at ways of improving anti-corruption education.
All governing bodies and player associations need to ensure that anyone involved in the game – players and coaching staff – are aware of the dangers.
In recent weeks the PCA has launched an innovative interactive online anti-corruption programme which every professional player in England has to complete. It takes the form of online tutorials which require players to answer a series of questions at the end of each section.
On completion of all the sections players get a certificate as proof that they have completed the course. It enables the PCA and ECB to know which players have completed the programme and which ones need to be contacted.
I think that the PCA, ECB and everyone associated with the game in England can be very proud of this initiative. But we musn’t be naive and assume that corruption in cricket only happens elsewhere and isn’t a problem for the English game.
The response to the online system has been very favourable. Everyone wants the game to be free of corruption and, therefore, anything that educates people about the problems and pitfalls has to be a good thing.
The other initiative between the PCA and ECB came just before the start of the season when a Rookie Camp was held at Loughborough involving players new to the professional game.
It was an early opportunity to talk to youngsters about anti-corruption, to make them aware of how easy it is to inadvertently do something which may have very serious consequences.
Players who have been involved in county cricket for longer would have been involved in discussions on anti-corruption during regular visits by the PCA and, therefore, should have a better understanding of the issues.
It’s gone quiet on the subject of domestic structure reform, meanwhile, after almost two years of debate.
I’m pleased that the authorities have decided to maintain the integrity of County Championship by retaining the existing 16-match structure and resisting proposals to reduce it to a 14-match competition as this poses inevitable problems with symmetry.
Throughout that period players have expressed their views, through PCA surveys and consultation with county representatives, and have remained consistent in stating that the County Championship remains our most important competition and that the integrity of its structure should be retained.
Another change that will take effect for 2012 is the reduction of the number Friends Life t20 group matches from 16 to 10. Hopefully this will increase the appeal of the competition to members and spectators alike while also maintaining the quality and intensity of the cricket played.
The one issue still to be resolved is whether the one-day competition should remain at 40 overs or revert back to 50. My personal view is that our domestic structure should ideally mirror international cricket. I do, however, accept that there is a valid counter view in retaining the 40-over competition, which many clubs view as a more marketable format.
Forty-over cricket is unquestionably enjoyable to play, and makes more sense in the context of a schedule which remains more crowded partly as a consequence of the correct decision not to compromise the County Championship.
*Vikram Solanki is chairman of the Professional Cricketers’ Association