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Spot-fixing rows continue to torment Cricket Australia officials

ANALYST
News
237   //    29 Aug 2018, 19:31 IST

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The dark clouds of spot-fixing continue to loom large over Cricket Australia's skies, just like it has been ever since Al Jazeera, the international broadcasting agency, released a documentary regarding the issue in late May 2018. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera is all set to produce yet another documentary - this time, they will be investigating into the players who were apparently claimed to be involved in illegal betting activities back in 2011.

Al Jazeera's first documentary on spot-fixing was publicly broadcasted on Youtube on May 27th, 2018. In short, the documentary alleges certain Australian players to have been involved in spot-fixing in India last year. The agency also used some potentially defamatory footage of an Australian player. Al Jazeera's investigative team have since have provided Cricket Australia and other governing bodies with a list of names it is looking into, regarding the same purpose.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) CEO Dave Richardson had said that a team within the institution has investigated the claims made in May but that they have also been hampered by the Middle East network failing to hand over the full information it claims to have.

In the 2011 season, Australia had performed in par-to-below-par levels - they lost an Ashes Test at Sydney, after which they won a 3-match series 1-0 in Sri Lanka, drew a series 1-1 in South Africa, another 1-1 draw at home against New Zealand and finally, a win against India at Melbourne. Al Jazeera hence claims that rampant fixing attempts may have happened during the season. However, Cricket Australia (CA)'s integrity unit has reportedly investigated the latest claims and found that players had no case to answer.

According to CA chief James Sutherland, "Although not having been provided with an opportunity to review any raw audio or footage, our long-standing position on these matters is that credible claims should be treated very seriously and investigated." His proactive stance on the issue was widely noted.

"Cricket Australia’s Integrity Unit have conducted a review of the latest claims by Al Jazeera, from a known criminal source, and, from the limited information provided by Al Jazeera, our team have not identified any issues of corruption relating to current or former Australian players. We have handed all material over to the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit to enable them to fully investigate and we will continue to cooperate with the ICC. We urge Al Jazeera to provide all un-edited materials and any other evidence to the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit," he added.

Sutherland's statements were acknowledged by Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive Alistair Nicholson, who said that they will have a zero-tolerance approach to such crimes, but at the same time, it was also necessary that any claims made on behalf of players' actions be supported by evidence.

"Enough is enough when it comes to people making unsupported accusations that have the ability to unfairly tarnish players’ reputations," he said.

With the ball-tampering issues from March this year, to these latest developments, it is seen that CA may be having an endless charade of headaches. However, it must be appreciated that they are trying to curb all sources of menace, by the best of their efforts.

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