You’ve got to be jok­ing

Haddin laughs off ICC spot-fix­ing probe into Zim­babwe clash

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport -

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.

Brad Haddin

Shane Wat­son

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