Cricket’s crunch time

Gilchrist pleads with ICC to crack down on match- fix­ing cancer

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport -

TEST great Adam Gilchrist last night im­plored the ICC to show more lead­er­ship on the match-fix­ing scourge af­flict­ing world cricket – or risk the death of the sport.

Gilchrist’s plea came as I CC anti-corruption boss R a v i S a wa n i b r o k e h i s si­lence to hit back at sug­ges­tions the gov­ern­ing body was not do­ing enough to stamp out the big­gest is­sue con­fronting world cricket.

And Aus­tralian Olympics chief John Coates un­der­scored global con­cerns yes­ter­day when he called for a new na­tional anti-corruption watch­dog to com­bat il­licit bet­ting in sport.

The Aus­tralian camp was left fu­ri­ous af­ter an In­dian news­pa­per re­port claimed the ICC had be­gun a pur­ported spot-fix­ing probe into the slow bat­ting of Brad Haddin and Shane Wat­son in t heir World Cup opener against Zim­babwe.

The match-fix­ing in­nu­endo reached a flash­point yes­ter­day, with Sri Lankan vicec a p t a i n M a h e l a Jayawar­dena t hreat­en­ing legal ac­tion against a lo­cal gov­ern­ment-run TV net­work for im­ply­ing he was on the take af­ter bat­ting poorly in his side’s 11-run loss to Pak­istan.

With world cricket reel­ing at the Bri­tish news­pa­per sting that led to Pak­istan trio Sal­man Butt, Mo­ham­mad Aamir and Mo­ham­mad Asif be­ing banned for spot-fix­ing, Gilchrist said the ICC needed

Adam Gilchrist to get tough by slap­ping of­fend­ers with life bans.

" It’s time for some­one at the ICC to take more lead­er­ship on this is­sue," Gilchrist said.

" This ( match and spot- fix­ing) is the big­gest is­sue in the game, it re­ally is.

" Sched­ul­ing is an­other but that won’t be an is­sue if there’s no cricket and if match-fix­ing spi­rals out of con­trol there won’t be any cricket. Peo­ple won’t want to be­come stake­hold­ers in our sport if match-fix­ing is al­lowed to flour­ish.

" The ICC has taken some ac­tion re­cently but I per­son­ally think the penal­ties need to be the harsh­est pos­si­ble.

" I would like to see a life ban for any­one who en­ters into ill-deal­ings in the sport.

" I en­cour­age the ICC to slap the heav­i­est bans pos­si­ble on play­ers if they are found guilty, but the play­ers need to re­frain from be­ing in­volved with peo­ple try­ing to cor­rupt the game.

" That’s the only way clean up the sport."

The ICC’s anti-corruption unit has been crit­i­cised as a tooth­less tiger that lacks the i n v e s t i g a t i v e n o u s a n d power to ex­pose the il­licit bet­ting ac­tiv­ity threat­en­ing the cred­i­bil­ity of the sport.

C r i c k e t p u n d i t s h a v e openly ques­tioned why the ICC can­not claim a ma­jor match-fix­ing scalp when a Bri­tish tabloid man­aged to ex­pose the Pak­ista­nis last year.

But Sawani last night said the ICC’s anti-corruption unit was do­ing ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to catch of­fend­ers.

" Of course we are," he said. " We are main­tain­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary vig­i­lance.’’

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