RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy - A journey to the heart of cricket's underworld

Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy - A journey to the heart of cricket's underworld
by Ed Hawkins

Published in 2012 by:
Bloomsbury Publishing Pic
50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP
website: www.bloomsbury.com

Publicity Co-ordinator: Mark Harrison - harrisons@ndirect.co.uk
Tel: +44(0) 1295 690 00

: 146
Price: Sixteen pounds and pence ninety nine only
Pages: 232
ISBN: 9781408165973

An award-winning sports and gambling journalist, Ed Hawkins has twice been named the Sports Journalists Association's Sports Betting Writer of the Year. His previous books include No Holding Back, the memoirs of Michael Holding, and Sporting Chancer in 2011.

Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy covers players, politicians, governing bodies, illegal bookmakers, fixers and organised crime - and corruption, intimidation and even murder. This is a very well written book - the most explosive book ever written about one of the world's biggest sports.

Ed Hawkins says that the aim of the book is to get under the fingernails of the bookmakers, punters and fixers who seek to corrupt cricket, and to expose - in minute, gory detail - how they mght have done it in the context of one extraordinary match, which could be set for infamy.

This excellent book is divided into three sections and each section for me is unique and shocking in bits and parts. In the first chapter, the writer says that the book will explain how corruption in cricket works and that the answers to his questions will interest the readers as much as they have interested him. "I have met with India's illegal bookmakers, stayed in their homes, eaten with their families, watched them take bets, been coerced into giving them information which could have landed me in trouble with the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), received details about fixes before they have happened, drunk beer at TGI Friday's with one of India's most infamous punters, had sweets and chai with a fixer who pleaded his innocence, met the Delhi police who interrogated Mohammad Azharuddin and spoken with spies in Pakistan's intelligence agency. After all of it, I will never watch a cricket match in the same way again."

Hawkins reveals that despite its cut-throat reputation, the Indian gambling industry is highly organised with a small number of powerful sydicates controlling the market through a multi-tiered network of bookies and punters. The very illegality of bettng in India means that it functions on the basis of trust between parties that payments will be honoured, despite the lack of any paper trail.

For the first time, the anatomy of a fix is explained in minute detail: how a bookmaker snares a player, how they decide what part of a game to manipulate, the signals which will be employed during the match to say 'it's on' and how money is made in the same way a trader would play the stock market.

During the time spent with the Indian bookmakers, Hawkins claims to have assembled the names of 45 former and current cricketers - international and domestic players - who were involved in corrupt activity at some stage.

In addition to bookies and fixers, Hawkins met with and spoke to influential figures in the sport, including Lord Condon, the former chairman of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit; Lalit Modi, the ostracised ex-Commissioner of the Indian Premier League, who says his life has been threatened on three occasions by mobsters seeking to corrupt the IPL; the English Professional Cricketers Association and the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

The book, presented with care and attention to detail consistent with this publisher's high standards, deserves to be bought, read and pondered for the followers of the game. Highly recommended.