ICC investigating new allegations of Test match corruption

Documentary to be aired on Sunday alleges groundsman doctored Sri Lanka pitch

A general view Galle International Cricket Stadium on  the fourth day of the first Test match between Sri Lanka and India in July, 2017. Photograph:  Ishara S Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images

A general view Galle International Cricket Stadium on the fourth day of the first Test match between Sri Lanka and India in July, 2017. Photograph: Ishara S Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has launched an investigation into corruption allegations in the sport made in a documentary to be aired by news organisation Al Jazeera on Sunday.

The documentary allegedly uncovers a groundsman agreeing to doctor pitches for Test matches involving some of the world’s top teams.

“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,” the governing body said in a statement on its website.

“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.”

The Australian newspaper reported on Saturday the documentary will allege spot-fixers bribed the groundsman at Galle to doctor the pitch used for the 2016 second Test between hosts Sri Lanka and Australia.

The touring side were bowled out for 106 and 183 in the match and lost by 229 runs in less than three days.

Last year’s Test between Sri Lanka and India at Galle was also under suspicion, while match-fixers have also targeted England’s Test at the same venue in November, according to the Australian.

Sri Lanka Cricket later said in a statement that it would fully co-operate with the world governing body as they probe the allegations and that their chief executive Ashley De Silva was in contact with ICC’s anti-corruption unit and chief executive David Richardson.

“Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to state that it has zero tolerance towards corruption and will take immediate action against any person involved in the alleged incident, if found guilty,” the statement added.

Match-fixing has become a major concern for the sport in recent years with a high-profile incident involving Pakistan on a previous tour to England forming one of cricket’s low points.

Pakistani trio Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, who is back playing for the national team, were part of a gambling-inspired plot to bowl no-balls at pre-arranged times during a Test match against England at Lord’s in August 2010.

All three players served time in prison and were handed multi-year bans from the game after an ICC tribunal found them guilty of spot-fixing.

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