ALLEGATIONS of match-fixing at the highest level of international cricket have put the 2017/18 Ashes series under a fierce microscope heading into the third test at the WACA today.
UK newspaper The Sun ran an expose on two Indian bookmakers who claimed to be able to rig certain periods of play for private punters to win millions of pounds on.
The bookmakers claimed to have an Australian player they dubbed ‘the Silent Man’ on the books, who would give the illegal bookies certain signals while batting that flagged intent to rig certain overs.
In response to the allegations, Cricket Australia immediately launched an investigation today.
If proven true, the story would prove a horrible blow for the sport and for the integrity of its most sacred rivalry – the Ashes.
Cricket has endured cheaters before – South African captain Hansie Cronje was banned from the sport after being found cheating to collect bookmaker cash in 2000. Pakistan captain Salman Butt and fast bowler Muhammed Amir were banned for five years and Butt also spent time in English prison after evidence of spot fixing was revealed in 2010. There has been a host of other players looking to make a quick buck for what they would deem ‘harmless’ spot-fixing acts that shouldn’t impact on the result of a match itself.
While secretly being filmed by The Sun journalist team, the two Indian bookmakers claimed they had worked with former and current international stars – men they claimed were “puppets”.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the expose were the ‘signals’ that the bookmakers claim players give to match fixers.
Typical cricketing occurrences like changing gloves, pulling out of a bowling run up, asking for the shape of the ball to be checked, pulling up sleeves and patting down the pitch were claimed to all be signs that fixing was about to occur.
The story continues to shine a light on the need for a regulated Indian sports betting industry.
With the demand for cricket betting so high in the cricket-mad country, illegal bookmakers are able to offer a service in demand and without checks and balances or Government oversight, have been able to build a network of illegal activity.
Perhaps more concerning for the game is that during the secret interview, the men also claimed to have fixed more than 18 IPL matches.