JPN The World Cup 2011 is still in its early stages and match fixing allegations have knocked the biggest cricket competition. The ICC has carried out a scrutiny of the Australia and New Zealand World Cup match played in Ahmedabad after Australian openers Shane Watson and Brad Haddin batted slowly in the first 10 overs.
Cricket’s apex governing body, ICC, suspects that few Australian players played suspiciously against Zimbabwe and is probing the Australia-Zimbabwe match in Ahmedabad. And Sri Lanka players accused of match fixing by a TV channels are planning to sue it.
The opening duo scored just 28 in 11 overs and 53 in 15 overs. Though Australia eventually won comfortably but the slow run rate in the first two overs was scrutinised by the ICC anti-corruption and security unit (ASCU).
With the specter of spot-fixing now looming over international cricket following the ban on three Pakistani players, sources said the ICC ASCU was keeping a vigilant eye on all matches in the World Cup and the slow start by the Australian openers caught their attention.
Australia opener Brad Haddin reacted. "It's quite a laughable story. It's a joke," Haddin said.
Australia team manager Steve Bernard, too, expressed surprise at the reports.
"It was the silliest thing I've heard this week – and I've heard a lot of silly things since I've been here," Bernard said.
"I've just heard the story a moment ago and I'm not sure how to respond, except to say it would make a cat laugh. It's the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard in my life that a side can be 0-5 after two overs and that that's suspicious," Bernard added.
Haddin, however, dismissed the claims and said the ICC ACSU had not approached the Australian team.
"It's not a case (of match-fixing), we just got off the mark a bit slowly."
Meanwhile, coming down heavily on a TV channel claims that he might have helped fix a World Cup match against Pakistan, former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene is contemplating legal action against the channel.
As per the media reports, Jayawardene, who made just two runs in the match which the Lankans lost by 11 runs, is furious with the network for suggesting that he might have underperformed in the match.
"...a formal process has been initiated," Jayawardene's manager was quoted as saying by the media.
The commentators of the TV station had claimed that a local businessman put a USD 18,000 bet on Sri Lanka losing the game. Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera (1) "changed the game" by getting dismissed early.
Cricket is big money and the games reputation has taken a dip and match-fixing is almost an accepted thing.
Pakistan’s Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Aamir were hauled up after being found guilty of deliberately bowling no-balls during the fourth test against England at Lords last year.
Plenty of fuss was also raised over the India and England match after former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne correctly tweeted seven hours before the start of the match that it would be a tie.
England skipper Andrew Strauss claimed that Warne had shown he was a cricket genius with his correct prediction but others also observed that it was strange how one could predict a tie so early before a match.
Pakistan's former captain Moin Khan said the Warne tweet could have been just a hunch but felt it had raised questions.
Pakistan's test pacer Sohail Tanvir said on Geo Super that the ICC needed to keep a close eye on all matches of the World Cup as it was a mega event and a big attraction for bookmakers in the subcontinent.
Pakistan's former captain Aamir Sohail rued that if any Pakistani or Indian player had made the same tweet about having a tied match lot of hue and cry would have been raised in the western media by now.
"But since this prediction comes from an Australian player it is declared a stroke of genius," he added.
The World Cup 2011 is still in its early stages and match fixing allegations have knocked the biggest cricket competition.
The ICC has carried out a scrutiny of the Australia and New Zealand World Cup match played in Ahmedabad after Australian openers Shane Watson and Brad Haddin batted slowly in the first 10 overs.