You’ve got to be joking
Haddin laughs off ICC spot-fixing probe into Zimbabwe clash
BRAD Haddin — the man at the centre of a purported ICC probe into spot-fixing claims against the Australians — last night slammed the allegations as ‘‘ laughable’’ amid fears the side is facing a World Cup smear campaign.
The Australians were rocked by explosive allegations yesterday that the International Cricket Council had begun a secret probe into possible match irregularities a rising from Australia’s World Cup opening victory over Zimbabwe in Ahmedabad.
The report, published on an Indian newspaper website, claimed the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) was privately investigating the match after questions were raised over the slow start by Australian openers Haddin and Shane Watson.
The opening pair scored just 28 in 11 overs and 53 in 15 overs in a match Australia eventually won by 91 runs. The report said of particular concern to the ICC’s corruption watchdog was the slow scoring rate in the first two overs, when Australia were 0-5.
But a bemused Haddin has hit back at the report as the Australian side prepares for its third World Cup match against Sri Lanka on Saturday. The allegations come just six months after Haddin and Watson confirmed they were approached by a suspected Mumbai gangster, l i nked with bookmakers in India, during Australia’s Ashes tour of England in 2009.
The pair immediately reported the approach to ICC authorities.
‘‘ I think you guys ( media) are better than that to know that’s not the case,’’ Haddin said of the latest spot-fixing claims after Australia finished training at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
‘‘ I haven’t read the report, no ... ( but) it’s quite laughable actually.’’
Australian team manager Steve Bernard also rubbished the spot-fixing allegations, saying he has yet to hear from ICC anti-corruption officials.
‘‘ If you’re talking about the story out of India, I’ve only just heard of it ... and it’s the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard in my life, that a side can be 0-5 after two overs and that’s suspicious,’’ Bernard said.
‘‘ I’m not sure if this is someone being adventurous or malicious but I don’t pay any credence to it. It’s the silliest thing I’ve heard this week and I’ve heard some silly things since I’ve been here.
‘‘ I can confirm that I’ve heard nothing whatsoever from the ICC.
‘‘ This is a nonsense. Any right thinking person in the anti-corruption unit would see this for what it is.
‘‘ I hope we haven’t lost the plot yet.’’
The spectre of spot-fixing looms over international cricket following the bans on Pakistan stars Salman Butt,Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir for spotfixing last year on their side’s tour of England.
According to the Indian media report, sources said the ICC ASCU was keeping a vigilant eye on all matches in the World Cup and the slow start by the Australian openers piqued their attention.
Bernard said the allegations were a slap in the face for the Zimbabweans, who deployed spin for 39 of their 50 overs to restrict Australia to 6-262 on a fine batting track.