• Cricket

Cook alarmed by spot-fixing threat

ESPN staff
May 19, 2014
Alastair Cook: "You can always do more, can't you?" © Getty Images

Alastair Cook has admitted he is "incredibly worried" about the latest reports of corruption in cricket, insisting it "cheapens" the game.

Last week the Daily Telegraph reported that former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent has told the ICC's anti-corruption unit that attempts were made to fix a number of county matches as well as games in at least four other countries.

The Daily Mail also reported on Monday that it believed New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum had told the ICC he had turned down offers of more than £100,000 to underperform in matches.

McCullum has testified before the ICC's anti-corruption investigators but is not under investigation himself, according to New Zealand Cricket.

Now England captain Cook, who played in the Lord's Test between England and Pakistan in 2010, a match which led to Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir being sent to prison a year later for spot-fixing, has revealed his frustration.

"The education is good. You know the tell-tale signs but you can always do more, can't you, if it is still going on now? But it is a worry," Cook told the Evening Standard.

"I've been involved already in a high-profile game which has been changed by [corrupt practices], and it cheapens the sport. It's frustrating because you know how much hard work you've done in cricket and you trust that all the other professionals have done the same. Clearly, there are more and more cases that seem to be coming up now.

"It's an entertainment business. People are there to watch the cricket and they need to know that what they are watching is genuine. They need to know the players are trying their hardest, not for any financial gain off the field.

"It makes you incredibly worried. I know from how I play the game, you're trying to protect the values, the traditions and history of the game, and play it in the right way. When you walk on to the field, you're doing it with the best intentions at heart and to try to win the game for your team. That's why you test yourself in sport.

"I've never been exposed to it personally and I don't know how deep it goes, but it's obviously a very serious situation. People have said it's the tip of the iceberg, and if that's the case and more and more comes out, it will damage the sport."

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