against England, Australia Tests; boards say no evidence
Cricket Australia and the ECB have said there was no “credible evidence” linking Australian and English Test players to spot-fixing, as alleged by TV channel Al Jazeera in its documentary, which focuses on various forms of corruption in the sport.
The Tests in question are the England-India Test in Chennai in December 2016, and the Australia-India Test in Ranchi in March 2017. Al Jazeera’s allegations are that during certain periods of the game some England and Australian batsmen scored at a rate specified by fixers for the purposes of betting.
Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, said the “limited information” the board had was discussed with “all the England players” and they “emphatically deny the allegations, have stated categorically that the claims are false and they have our full support.”
CA requested Al Jazeera for raw footage and un-edited material to assess the allegations and determine whether an investigation was necessary. The BCCI said they were working closely with the ICC.
Statement from Alex Marshall, ICC General Manager – Anti-Corruption Unit
The ICC is aware of an investigation into corruption in cricket by a news organisation and as you would expect we will take the contents of the programme and any allegations it may make very seriously.
“We have already launched an investigation working with anti-corruption colleagues from Member countries based on the limited information we have received. We have made repeated requests that all evidence and supporting materials relating to corruption in cricket is released immediately to enable us to undertake a full and comprehensive investigation.
In the documentary, a person Al Jazeera identified as Aneel Munawar, an Indian national who is said to work for crime syndicate D Company, is seen naming three England players and two Australian players to the undercover reporter as being part of the fix.
The names of the cricketers were edited out in the documentary but Al Jazeera said it would pass on information to the relevant authorities. The channel said the two Australians named by Munawar had not responded to the allegations; while the three England players “categorically denied the allegations” through their lawyers, stating that they were “made by a source who is a known criminal,” and that the likelihood of a batting team fixing scores “to within such degree of precision as alleged is highly improbable, if not practically impossible.”
Al Jazeera, however, claimed that the information passed by Munawar to the undercover reporter about run-scoring in a certain passage of play was accurate in both Tests. The instruction, the channel claimed, was for the batsmen to score slowly so that the actual runs scored would be lower than what the illegal betting market was placing bets on.
The channel said there was no evidence to indicate any other England or Australia players had been involved or aware of the alleged plot.
CA said it had not yet had the opportunity to view the raw footage containing the allegations, and requested Al Jazeera for the same. “Together with the ICC, we are aware of the investigation by Al Jazeera into alleged corruption in cricket.”
CA chief executive James Sutherland said in a statement. “Although not having been provided an opportunity to view the documentary or any raw footage, our long-standing position on these matters is that credible claims will be treated very seriously and fully investigated.