Is the fix in at Ashes Test? ICC in­ves­ti­gates

Cricket Gov­ern­ing body takes claims ‘ex­tremely se­ri­ously’

The Times (South Africa) - - Sport -

● The ICC was tak­ing al­le­ga­tions in a Bri­tish news­pa­per about at­tempts to or­gan­ise spot­fix­ing dur­ing the third Ashes Test “ex­tremely se­ri­ously” but did not think the match had been com­pro­mised, global cricket’s gov­ern­ing body said on Thurs­day.

The Sun re­ported that un­der­ground book­mak­ers from In­dia had of­fered to sell un­der­cover re­porters from the news­pa­per in­for­ma­tion about spot-fix­ing in the Test be­tween Aus­tralia and Eng­land, which started in Perth on Thurs­day.

Cricket Aus­tralia said the re­port was of “se­ri­ous con­cern”, while the Eng­land and Wales Cricket Board said they were “aware” of the al­le­ga­tions even if there had been no sug­ges­tion any Eng­land play­ers were in­volved.

Spot-fix­ing oc­curs when cor­rupt play­ers agree to ma­nip­u­late part of a match by, for ex­am­ple, bowl­ing a wide on a par­tic­u­lar de­liv­ery or en­sur­ing a par­tic­u­lar run rate.

The cor­rup­tion does not usu­ally af­fect the over­all out­come of the match but gam­blers in the know can use the in­for­ma­tion to beat the bet­ting mar­ket.

The un­der­ground book­mak­ers told the re­porters they had ma­nip­u­lated matches in the In­dian Premier League and were also tar­get­ing Aus­tralia’s Twenty20 Big Bash League.

The news­pa­per said it had passed all the ev­i­dence to the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil, which said it would be in­ves­ti­gated by its An­ti­Cor­rup­tion Unit.

“From my ini­tial as­sess­ment of the ma­te­rial, there is no ev­i­dence, ei­ther from The Sun or via our own in­tel­li­gence, to sug­gest the cur­rent Test match has been cor­rupted,” said Alex Mar­shall, ICC gen­eral man­ager Anti-Cor­rup­tion.

“At this stage of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, there is no in­di­ca­tion that any play­ers in this Test have been in con­tact with the al­leged fix­ers.

“The al­le­ga­tions are wide-rang­ing and re­late to var­i­ous forms cricket in sev­eral coun­tries, in­clud­ing T20 tour­na­ments. We will look closely at all the in­for­ma­tion.”

Cricket Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive James Suther­land was briefed by Mar­shall on the al­le­ga­tions in a con­fer­ence call on Thurs­day, which also in­cluded ICC boss Dave Richard­son, among oth­ers.

He said Mar­shall had told him there was “no ev­i­dence, sub­stance or jus­ti­fi­ca­tion” to sug­gest any play­ers or of­fi­cials from CA, the ECB or the ICC were un­der sus­pi­cion.

How­ever, he de­clined to com­ment on whether any Aus­tralia play­ers were named in the dossier of ev­i­dence passed to the ICC from The Sun.

“I’m sure the ECB can make their own com­ments, but we have ab­so­lute con­fi­dence in our play­ers, our team of­fi­cials and oth­ers in­volved in the game,” he said.

The ECB said the body worked closely with the ICC and its Anti-Cor­rup­tion unit to “pro­tect the in­tegrity” of cricket.

“We are aware of th­ese al­le­ga­tions and there is no sug­ges­tion that any of the Eng­land team is in­volved in any way,” said a spokesman.

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