x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

ICC to probe claims bookmakers approached Pakistan players

The governing body promised to investigate allegations of Indian bookmakers approaching Pakistani cricketers in Sri Lanka and say they will take "appropriate action".

DUBAI // The International Cricket Council have promised to investigate allegations of Indian bookmakers approaching Pakistani cricketers in Sri Lanka and say they will take "appropriate action". Pakistan's leading Urdu newspaper, Express, last week claimed Indian bookmakers were trying to make contact with Pakistani players in their Colombo hotel during the second Test against Sri Lanka.

The cricketers told the team management and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) notified the Dubai-based ICC. The matter was also reported to the officials of the ICC in Sri Lanka and they took some "urgent steps," said a PCB statement. "Currently there are one or two senior staff of the ACSU [Anti Corruption and Security Unit] in Sri Lanka ensuring complete control." James Fitzgerald, the ICC's communication officer, confirmed the council received the notification from the Pakistan board, but declined to elaborate.

"The specific activities of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit remain confidential for obvious reasons," he said. "However, in general terms I can confirm that the ACSU is aware of the allegations and is seeking to ascertain the details of what took place." The ACSU's security officer in India, Ravi Swami, is also reported to be looking into the incident. The Express said some Pakistan players had notified the team manager, Yawar Saeed, about the presence of some "undesirable elements", who were staying on the same floor in the team hotel.

One of the cricketers claimed they were invited to tea and dinner. "The players refused and informed the team management," he said. Saeed said Pakistan "lodged a complaint with the hotel management, and they immediately shifted these people to another floor." According to reports, there were at least five Indian nationals staying on the same floor as the Pakistan team, and two of them are said to have a history of being associated with cricket betting.

The incident has renewed concerns of match fixing. In 2000, the ICC formed the ACSU after allegations of fixing shook cricket. Investigations led to life bans for the former Indian captain, Mohammed Azharuddin, and the late South African skipper, Hansie Cronje. Pakistan's Salim Malik and Ata-ur-Rehman were also banned for life, by the PCB, and six other players - Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Saeed Anwar, Mushtaq Ahmed, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Akram Raza - were fined for their association with bookmakers.

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