ICC stresses importance of vigilance over match-fixing

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The Independent Online

The International Cricket Council yesterday seized the opportunity to maintain that the game remains safe from match-rigging. The sport's governing body was keen to offer the reassurance after it emerged that an Australian player had been approached in the team's hotel after the defeat by England in the second Test at Lord's.

An ICC spokesman said: "The whole reason that the anti-corruption unit is still in existence is because this issue hasn't gone away and it is to prevent it happening. That is what happened on this occasion. The education process that has been put in place kicked in.

"The player has immediately recognised that somebody has come up to him who he doesn't know, asked him to go out to dinner and wants to be friends with him. The player says 'sorry but I don't know you' and that's an end to it."

The incident, however, reminds all concerned with running big cricket that it remains at the mercy of illegal betting rings still at large in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. The anti-corruption unit is active in all international games and had to be especially watchful during the World Twenty20 earlier this summer.

"Thanks to that process there is a culture of integrity among the world's top players," said the ICC spokesman. "But having said that there is a need for continuing vigilance." English bookmakers expect to take up to £10m on the fifth Test, making it the highest staking match in the sport's history.