Gives a great insight into the Indian cricket gambling market and is particularly enlightening on the subject of the match-fixing trial centred around the 2010 Lord's test. Well-researched and well written, somewhat frustratingly the author doesn't (or can't) name names but cricket fans will enjoy.
I bought this book after reading the review in The Cricketer magazine. I didn't know what to expect and am not a gambler myself. I quickly realised that this is a book written with gamblers in mind, but I loved it anyway, perhaps because of my interest in stats. Hawkins allows you to see first hand how easy it is for a player to be corrupted, without even knowing it themselves, and has an intriguing twist on the Pakistan spot-fixing case in London. You won't find any hard and fast incriminating facts in here that should have players trotting off to jail, and you must take many of the conversations he has with a pinch of salt given the line of work of the people he is speaking with, but it kept me gripped from start to finish and is now going around my office being read by everyone else. They have all found it equally enthralling. The book explains the process of the illegal betting industry in India, and also looks at the people working in cricket to try and rid it of any corruption. I'd like to see a follow up in a couple of years.
The back cover blurb for Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy boasts that the reader 'might never again watch a cricket match without suspicion'. For once, the back cover blurb is not exaggerating. This is a detailed, brave and balanced exploration of corruption in cricket, mainly focused on India's illegal betting markets. Highly recommended for anyone who loves cricket or who is interested in organised crime.
One complaint - do we really need to be told four times that former ACSU general manager Ravi Sawani admitted to not knowing what a 'bracket' was during the Southwark spot-fixing trial? Surely once would have been enough.
This is a troubling yet engrossing book for any cricket fan. Hawkins explores the mysterious world of illegal gambling on cricket in India, presenting a picture of an organised, trust-based system that is far removed from stereotypes, and perhaps the more worrying for it. He deals with match fixing, focusing closely on Pakistan and their world cup semi final against India. Once again, popular perceptions are shown to be false, and the complexity of the problem is clearly highlighted. The ICC's ACSU comes in for some justified criticism, and this book indicates that cricket has a lot of investiagtive work to do.
This book reads like a thriller, with a travel story flavour, and just a hint of the maths behind the betting industry. I couldn't put it down.
I am a cricket fan, which no doubt added to my interest, but I'm not a gambler and some of the intricacies of the betting markets went over my head. No matter, it doesn't detract from the thrill of it. If you are into cricket and/or gambling you simply have to read this.
If you aren't a fan of either there's a good chance you'll be gripped by it anyway.
The author has travelled the breadth of india meeting up with his twitter cricket betting contacts and manages to get meetings with some high profile but decidedly dodgy individuals. I found the book very interesting but was saddened by the extent to which bracket fixing and match fixing goes on. I got burned recently when betting on Pakistan who were cruising effortlessly to win a third ODI v India only to somehow end up losing. This book explains why.
I bought this on the spur of the moment having read an article in a newspaper that contained excerpts of the book. I wasn't disappointed, a great read and very interesting to get insight in to the reality of Indian illegal betting and match fixing versus what has been talked about in the press.
I took this book on holiday and couldn't put it down. It is a brilliant insight into the other side of cricket - not sure I will ever be able to watch cricket without suspecting someone of 'influencing' the result. It's a real 10 out of 10 read!