x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Swann still wary of match-fixing 'lunacy'

Graeme Swann, the England spin bowler, yesterday conceded match-fixing probably still takes place in cricket, but derided the practice as "lunacy".

Graeme Swann celebrates taking the winning wicket in a Test against Pakistan last year.
Graeme Swann celebrates taking the winning wicket in a Test against Pakistan last year.

DUBAI // Graeme Swann, the England spin-bowler, yesterday conceded match-fixing probably still takes place in cricket, but derided the practice as "lunacy". The sport's bosses fear corruption in the game could find a new platform thanks to the boom in the 20-over game. According to Tim May, the chief executive of the players' union FICA, Twenty20 is "ripe for corruption" because "the shorter the game the more influence each particular incident can have".

The International Cricket Council expressed concerns last summer that the riches being poured into the game will "inevitably attract match-fixers". Swann, whose England side play two Twenty20 internationals against Pakistan in Dubai this weekend, conceded the sport is unlikely to ever be totally clean. "It probably does go on, in some teams and with some players, but you never know who it is," said Swann.

"Everyone is educated on the dangers. You'd be an absolute idiot if you did it. It's lunacy: anyone who tries it gets what they deserve." Swann's maiden tour with England was in a series against South Africa which formed the centre point of the Hansie Cronje corruption storm. England's jovial spinner believes anyone who is thinking about fixing matches should be forced to sit through the 2008 film Hansie about the episode. "It is truly horrific. We had it going around the team in South Africa," he added.

"Stuart Broad found it, bought it on DVD then forced everyone to watch it. It was awful. That should be the anti-corruption video." England play the England Lions in a warm up game in Abu Dhabi this afternoon. @Email:pradley@thenational.ae More cricket, s6-7