• Cricket

Spot-fixing scandal rocks cricket

ESPN staff
May 15, 2014
Lou Vincent, batting in a Twenty20 match, played for Sussex in 2011 © PA Photos

Former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent has told the ICC's anti-corruption unit (ACU) that attempts were made to fix a number of county matches as well as games in at least four other countries.

A report in the Daily Telegraph said that Vincent, who played for Lancashire and Sussex, has given so much information that this could become the most serious fixing issue the game has had to face since the Hansie Cronje scandal in 2000.

Vincent is believed to have spoken of attempted fixing in English Twenty20 matches, with more than one player involved. In one instance a fix was agreed only for the player concerned to subsequently back out. The Daily Telegraph claims that a 40-over match between Sussex and Kent in 2011 in which Vincent played is being closely investigated by the ICC.

He has also detailed matches when he played for the Auckland Aces, both in New Zealand and at the Twenty20 Champions League in South Africa in October 2012, as well as incidents at the Hong Kong Sixes. He was also involved in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League where allegations of irregularities were widespread.

Vincent has also informed the ACU of the details of an approach by another corrupt player to a current international captain, who turned down the offer and reported it to anti-corruption officials.

He issued a statement at the end of last year saying was "co-operating with an ongoing ACU investigation that has been made public". The Daily Telegraph said this was a bid to avoid criminal prosecution for his involvement in and knowledge of spot-fixing in five or more countries over a four-year period between 2008 and 2012.

There is a concern that some within the ICC are keen for the investigation to be put into mothballs. There has been increasing concern that the rapid expansion of Twenty20 tournaments has created a situation ripe for match-fixing and were that to be proved then the damage to the game would be considerable.

Fears the extent of the malaise could be covered up increased last week when the ICC announced a reorganisation of the ACU as a result of pressure brought by the three controlling powers with the ICC - England, Australia and India.

The newspaper reported that "at least one senior investigator at the ICC's anti-corruption unit is believed to have offered his resignation over perceived political interference in this case, fearing it could fall victim to a power struggle within the board over the future direction of policing cricket".

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