Nannes Speaks Out

Former Australian cricketer and current ABC Grandstand commentator Dirk Nannes says he suspects he has played in matches which were fixed, as the controversy continues over allegations of plans to spot-fix a Test in Australia.

Speaking on Grandstand on day two of the third Ashes Test in Perth, Nannes talked about his time as a fast bowler in the Indian Premier League and Bangladesh Premier League.

He said one incident earlier this year gave him a glimpse into the amount of gambling on cricket.

Grandstand's Dirk Nannes (C) with Chris Rogers, Gerard Whateley at the Gabba on November 24, 2017.

“When we were in India for the [2017] Test series, [ABC caller] Alister Nicholson introduced me to someone in a bar.

“And this guy got my name and said, ‘Oh, you cost me $50,000 dollars’. It turns out that in an IPL game, I bowled the first over.

“It was Chennai versus Kolkata. He had a bet that I was going to go for under 13 or 14 runs. The thing that got him was that I bowled a no-ball.

“Across my career I only bowled one, maybe two no-balls in the T20 game. So I had to bowl a free hit. [Manvinder] Bisla was on strike, Indian opening batsman.

“And I bowled him. The ball went over Dhoni, the wicketkeeper, and went for four byes. And the guy lost 50 grand. My message to him was, don’t make stupid bets.”

This week, The Sun in the UK published what it said were secret recordings with two men claiming they had an agent in the Australian camp — known as ‘The Silent Man’ — able to help spot-fix results in the WACA Test.

Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland responded, saying there was no evidence players from either side were involved in plans to rig parts of the third Test, and that CA had, “absolute confidence in our players”.

Nannes said clearly match-fixing had to be taken seriously, but that he would be, “astounded, absolutely gobsmacked” if the Sun report was found to have any merit in Australia, even at Big Bash League level.

“We talk about that Sun story, some of the Australian players are getting $5 million or more. They’re talking about $60,000? Then you’ve got to split it. [Players] would never go anywhere near that,” Nannes said.

“It’s a massive betrayal of so many people, down that slippery slope. The games that I’ve raised eyebrows about — there’s probably one or two that I can think of — [where I’ve thought], ‘Nup, they haven’t played that quite right’.

“There are times when you just shake your head as a player. Someone comes on to bowl, or this guy’s just gone for four runs from two overs, and you think, ‘Why isn’t he bowling these overs?’

“The captain invariably has a response, but … a few times you play in games where you feel you don’t agree with what’s happened.

“It is those satellite tournaments. The smaller the tournament, the more vulnerable.”

A red cricket ball breaks the wickets.

Nannes acknowledged he had seen questionable passages of play during his time in the Bangladesh Premier League.

“There were a few games I watched on television when I played in the Bangladesh Premier League, and you could hear the players on the ground yelling at the batsman because you saw it was flat out wrong.

“The security guys knew it, the guys on the ground knew it, everybody knew it. What do you do as a player?

“The ICC guys, unless you’ve got the smoking gun, they’ve got no investigatory powers to confiscate phones and stuff all over the world. You can’t go around doing that unless you’re the police.

“The Bangladesh Premier League, that was the interesting one. The first time there were owners who’d come along. The owners weren’t allowed on the ground, but there’d be a team manager going to the owner and saying, ‘What are we doing next?’ Then going to the coach.

“The security guys were saying enough was enough but it just kept going on. The owners were sitting there on the phone. The owners were demanding that they be in constant touch with the coach because that’s why they bought the team.

“The spotters were people up in the crowd. They’d have a microphone in the cuff of their shirt, and 10 mobile phones around their waist.

“Anytime something happened, they’d lift their sleeve and speak into the microphone, and have time to do whatever they were doing.

“Security couldn’t do anything except kick them out. Actually, in Bangladesh they couldn’t even do that.”