Cricket’s crunch time
Gilchrist pleads with ICC to crack down on match- fixing cancer
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.’’