International Cricket Council rubbish Ashes spot-fixing claims

England's Dawid Malan walks off the pitch having scored his first Test century. (AP)
Updated 14 December 2017
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International Cricket Council rubbish Ashes spot-fixing claims

LONDON: The International Cricket Council has clean bowled claims the third Ashes test had been “corrupted” after claims in a British newspaper that bookmakers offered to fix parts of the match.
The Sun newspaper published purported evidence of bookmakers offering to sell details of rigged periods of play for betting purposes in the Test which began yesterday in Perth.
ICC anti-corruption unit general manager Alex Marshall launched an investigation and declared their was absolutely no evidence that the clash was corrupted.
“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,” Marshall said in a statement.
“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 of cricket in several countries, including T20 tournaments. We will look closely at all the information as part of our investigation.”
Marshall said police had not been contacted over the claims.
“Nothing has been referred as yet because we are still assessing the information. If we deem that offenses have taken place in countries where match-fixing is illegal then, yes, we will work with the local police and report our concerns and share information to push for prosecution.”
The Sun said it conducted a four-month investigation, with interviews conducted at hotels in New Delhi and Dubai with two men claiming to be involved in illegal gambling.
“Before match, I will tell you this over, this runs and then you have to put all the bets on that over,” a man says in the newspaper’s undercover video footage.
During the video, information on fixes is estimated to be worth around $150,000.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said he spoke with Marshall about the allegations, and wondered why the story was published on the day the third Test began.
“There’s no substance to these allegations or justification to suspect that this test match or indeed the Ashes series as a whole is subject to corrupt activities,” Sutherland told a news conference at the WACA.
“My comments today are based on a briefing I’ve had from Alex Marshall and I don’t think for one moment anyone should believe that we’re complacent. The timing is a bit strange, obviously, but I guess I’ll leave that to Alex to make judgments on what the reason behind this might be.”
Meanwhile, England enjoyed the better of day one of the Test in Perth with Dawid Malan ending the day on 110 not out, the side’s first century of the series.
The tourists began day two earlier this morning on 305 for four having won the toss and elected to bat. Australia dominated the early exchanges, having England at 131 for four at one stage. But Malan was joined by Jonny Bairstow (75 not out) and the pair put on an unbeaten 174 for the fifth wicket to give the day to the tourists.
England went into the match 2-0 down in the series and needing a win to keep their Ashes hopes alive. And Malan said the fact the pressure was on made his maiden Test ton all the more emotional.
“Nice to do it under pressure and when the team needs it,” the left-hander said.
“I was so emotional (reaching 100). I didn’t really know what to do, I almost started crying when it happened. To do it in front of my parents, the sacrifices they made. It’s nice to repay them.
“With anything you do, you need self-belief, to feel like you belong. When you get your first hundred, you have that belief to trust your game. I might never get a run again, but you still have the belief to perform at the highest level.
“I do like to be positive. I walked out and thought, ‘I have nothing to lose, see the ball, hit the ball and do what comes naturally’.
“You lie in bed at night thinking about scoring a hundred, I didn’t even know what to do. You always play it through your head about how you’re going to score a hundred at some point.”


India and Pakistan ready to renew rivalry in Dubai showdown

Updated 18 September 2018
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India and Pakistan ready to renew rivalry in Dubai showdown

  • India brace for Pakistan after surviving stern test against minnows Hong Kong
  • Usman Shinwari: Any player who performs well in an India-Pakistan match will find his career reaches a new high

DUBAI: As delirium sweeps the UAE ahead of the mouth-watering encounter between arch rivals India and Pakistan in the Asia Cup, it seems one man — at least outwardly — is not as excited as the rest of the country and cricketing fans the world over.
India captain Rohit Sharma played with a straight bat when asked about the biggest clash in world cricket, set to take place today at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. On his first Asia Cup media outing the 31-year-old seemed unconcerned by the impending showdown with their fiercest opponents, his focus instead on facing Hong Kong, who Sharma and Co. had a big scare against on Tuesday.
“Right now, we are not focusing on Pakistan as (first) we are playing Hong Kong,” Sharma said on Sunday. “Obviously we have to focus on that particular team but once we have finished that game we will focus on Pakistan and what their strengths and weaknesses are.”
These are clearly the words of a man so media trained that by now he could easily be on the other side of the desk, asking the same questions he and his colleagues sometimes enjoy batting back with crafted clichés that speak of focusing on “one game at a time” or the like.
Sharma was clearly right to not take his eyes off the ball with Hong Kong — they are not here to merely make up the numbers, as their brilliant, battling performance on Tuesday illustrated. But at the same time, Sharma will be all too aware that as India skipper the one match you do not want to lead your side to defeat in is the one against Pakistan, regardless of competition and location.
Clearly India are not leaving Pakistan preparations to the 14 hours or so (sleep included) between the close of the Hong Kong clash and the toss prior to resuming Indo-Pak cricketing rivalry. To suggest they are would be naive at best.
A year on from Pakistan’s show-stealing Champions Trophy final victory over the old enemy in June last year, and a whole five years since the two sides met outside of an ICC or ACC event due to strained political relations, the appetite for the first of potentially three matches at this year’s Asia Cup is huge and one borne out of starved hunger.
Pakistan’s Usman Shinwari, fresh off defeating Hong Kong on Sunday, was more candid than Sharma.
“Any player who performs well in an India-Pakistan match will find his career reaches a new high, and every player dreams of doing well in this contest,” the fast bowler said. “I took three wickets (against Hong Kong), I hope that can be five wickets against India.”
Shinwari’s sentiments were echoed by his captain, Sarfraz Ahmed, who is absolutely clear on the levels of expectation that this fixture demands from fans on both sides of the border.
“The passion is always there,” said Sarfraz. “When you play against India everyone wants us to win as it’s against India.
“The fans say that whatever happens you have to win but as a captain I have to win against every team. It would be the same for India whose fans want them to win. It has happened in the past that any player who performs in the Indo-Pak match becomes a national hero.”
UAE cricket fans cannot wait for the clash. It took just a few hours for the first batch of tickets to be snapped up, the second bought in equally ravenous fashion. It has left a huge number of tickets now being touted across online marketplaces, social media platforms and, ultimately, will likely see the inflated resales being pawned outside the stadium on matchday too.
An expected 25,000 fans will swell the Ring of Fire, set to deal not only with cricket’s most fierce rivalry but also with all the unpredictability that will be thrown their way.
The famed traffic jams around Hessa Street, leading up to the stadium, and local entrances of Dubai Sports City will heave and efforts have been made to ease the burden of vehicles that will cart both sets of fans in and out of the area. Gates will open from 12p.m. local time, a whole three and a half hours before the first ball has been bowled. In an emirate where the last-minute rush is a daily fact of life, this will be not be an easy thing to execute but that, alongside the immense presence of volunteers and security, should prove welcome additions to the day’s running order.
This, though, is India vs Pakistan. Anything could happen.