Furious Oz team rejects alleged WC spot-fixing charge

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

COLOMBO - A furious Australian camp has slammed rumours that they dabbled in spot-fixing.

They described the charge as “ludicrous” amid fears the defending champions are being subjected to a malicious World Cup smear campaign.

The rejection came as the International Cricket Council (ICC) is said to have begun a probe of Australia’s opening World Cup clash against Zimbabwe for any betting irregularities after openers Brad Haddin and Shane Watson batted slowly in the first 10 overs.

An Indian newspaper has reported that the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) has privately scrutinized the match after questions were raised over the two openers scoring just 28 in 11 overs and 53 in 15 overs in a match that Australia eventually won comfortably.

With the spectre of spot fixing now looming over international cricket following the bans on three Pakistani players for spot-fixing last year on the England tour, 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.

“They are taking no chances at all and all matches are under the scanner for possible indications that any spot-fixing has taken place,” one source said.

Australian coach Tim Nielsen has defended his openers saying they played slowly according to the situation.

“We’re playing the way we think is the right way to play,” Nielsen said after the match.

Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif has already expressed fears that the format of the World Cup has opened a window for bookmakers to try to corrupt players. (ANI)

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