Bookies approached 5 international captains for spot-fixing in past year: ICC
Dubai - The advent of T20 cricket has given these corrupt people new opportunities to poison the game.
Eighteen years after the infamous Hansie Cronje scandal that rocked cricket, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Monday that "corruptors" are still trying to influence the game and that five international captains were approached by bookies in the past 12 months.
During an interaction with media at the ICC headquarters here, Alex Marshall, ICC anti-corruption general manager, revealed that the "explosion in T20 cricket over the years has given a whole host of new opportunities to corruptors to try and influence games".
"Five international captains have been approached. You are not going to get the names. Four of them are from full member countries and one from a non-full member country," Marshall said.
"There have been more than 30 investigations in the last 12 months, eight involve players as suspects," he added. "Five internationals captains have reported receiving approaches to spot-fix."
The advent of T20 cricket has given these corrupt people new opportunities to poison the game. "The corruptors like the explosion in T20 tournaments. It's, of course, great to have so many T20 events. It's really good, but the corruptors see that as a new opportunity. They try to get into the franchises, they try to be the financial backers, they try to gain influence over the tournament. So they love the T20s," he said.
While stating that almost all the bookies are from India, Marshall said: "Corruption happens in every single cricket playing country. Most of the bookies are based in one area. The corruptors are mostly Indian bookies. But the corruption happens everywhere."
Marshall then made a startling revelation.
"If they (corruptors) can't get into someone else's T20 tournament, they design their own corrupt tournaments and we have seen examples of corruptors who create an entire event only for the purposes of corruption," said Marshall, referring to the 2016 Masters Champions League - an event that attracted some big names like Kumar Sangakkara and Virender Sehwag.
But David Richardson, ICC CEO, says it will be unfair to put the blame on T20 cricket for corruption in cricket.
"I know lot of bookmakers like T20s, but I don't think it's correct to say that increasing the number of T20 matches will lead to the increase of risk," the former South African wicketkeeper-batsman told reporters on Monday.
"The bottom line is that the T20 format has attracted new fans. It's an invalid relationship between T20 cricket and the increase in risk. But certainly our priority is increase the number of fans. If that means Alex has to work little bit harder, well, that's something we have to live with," he added.
Marshall agreed with Richardson. "Yes, T20s are bringing more countries to the game, it's a brilliant development. But we have to work hard to make T20s resistant to corruptors and as I said earlier, that responsibility also sits with people who organise the T20 events to make sure that all the right anti-corruption measures are in place," he said.
"Within the game, we use education, we use prevention to make the whole game resistant to these people who want to poison it. We try to do everything we can within the law to disrupt their activities and keep them away."