Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland has said there is no evidence players from either side are involved in alleged plans to rig parts of today’s third Ashes Test in Perth.
The Sun in the UK has published what it says are secret recordings with two men claiming they have an agent in the Australian camp — known as ‘The Silent Man’ — able to help spot fix results in the WACA Test.
However, Sutherland spoke to ICC anti-corruption manager Alex Marshall this morning and told reporters there was “no evidence” to support the paper’s claims.
“What we heard from from Alex Marshall … is that there’s no evidence, substance or justification based on the dossier of information the ICC’s received from the news outlet, based on ICC intelligence from previous investigations — 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,” he said.
“We have absolute confidence in our players.”
He said the timing of the report, on the morning of day one of a potentially series-clinching Test match, was a “bit strange, obviously”.
The men in the recordings allegedly said they were in touch with ‘The Silent Man’ and offered to sell details of rigged periods of play for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Sun said its investigators posed as financiers for illegal London bookmakers during the alleged sting.
“Before match, I will tell you this over, this runs and then you have to put all the bets on that over,” a man, who the newspaper claims is a bookmaker, says in purportedly undercover video footage.
During the video, information on fixes are heard to be worth about $200,000.
The pair said corrupt players send signals to spotters in the crowd by making a subtle gesture on the field, such as changing their gloves, according to The Sun.
The spotters then tell bookies who quickly bet millions into the underground Indian market.
There is also mention of fixing “four to five” Big Bash League matches.
‘No evidence’ Perth Test corrupted: ICC
The International Cricket Council said its anti-corruption unit had received material relating to The Sun probe, and would investigate the allegations.
“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.
“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 cricket in several countries, including T20 tournaments.
“We will look closely at all the information as part of our investigation.”
CA ‘takes a zero tolerance approach’
In a statement released this morning, Cricket Australia said it would cooperate fully with any ICC Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) investigation.
“The allegations raised by media outlets are of serious concern. Cricket Australia takes a zero tolerance approach against anybody trying to bring the game into disrepute,” the statement said.
“Australian cricket has a longstanding, proactive approach to sports integrity management and Cricket Australia has a dedicated Anti-Corruption and Security Unit to prevent corruption within Australian domestic competitions, including the BBL.
“In addition to this, all players participating in CA sanctioned competitions, including the BBL, are required to complete an anti-corruption education session before they can compete.
“CA works closely with the ICC ACU on all international fixtures played in Australia.
“Players are able to report any suspicions they have on a confidential basis and in the past there has been a strong Australian player culture to do so.”
Three captains have reported approaches
England’s board also highlighted in a statement how it will continue to work closely with the ACU and that “there is no suggestion that any of the England team is involved in any way”.
The ICC appointed Marshall, who served in the UK police for 37 years, earlier this year as the head of its ACU.
Three international captains have reported illicit approaches in the past two months.
Marshall met with Australian Federal Police and other agencies earlier this month — but the trip was part of a global tour about information sharing and communication, rather than a specific investigation.
There are no names or specific details in The Sun’s piece, as opposed to the News of the World’s no-ball sting that named Pakistan players in 2010.
The ICC banned three players — Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir — after an undercover video detailed how Asif and Amir would bowl no-balls at certain points of a Test.
The Sun has posted footage in which the two men also discuss how they claim to distort elements of Twenty20 cricket games in Australia and India.