Indian cricketers in match-fixing ban

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The Independent Online

Five Indian cricketers have been suspended over match-fixing allegations.

Five Indian cricketers have been suspended over match-fixing allegations.

Mohammed Azharuddin, Nayan Mongia, Ajay Jadeja, Manoj Prabhakar and Ajay Sharma all face possible life bans if they are found guilty.

The ban came as English cricket chief Lord MacLaurin revealed only Alec Stewart's willingness to co-operate in investigations into match-fixing saved him from immediate suspension.

Stewart was one of nine international and five Indian cricketers accused of accepting money in a match-fixing report released this week by the Indian government.

Lord MacLaurin, chairman of the ECB, said he was entirely satisfied Stewart had been as open as possible into claims he was involved in taking money from an Indian bookmaker.

Stewart has denied the allegations.

Lord MacLaurin, chairman of the ECB, said he was satisfied with Stewart's assistance in the ECB's inquiries and elected not to suspend him.

"If Alec Stewart had not cooperated with us fully on Wednesday morning when we had a very long conference call with him, my board and I would have suspended him," MacLaurin said.

"As soon as we contacted Alec, he made his declarations to us quite clearly and therefore we had no reason at all to ask him to go home.

"If there is any suspicion against any of our England players and they fail to come and talk to me or any or my colleagues about it, they will be suspended."

MacLaurin was also forced to clarify why he was reported to have called for the suspension of Pakistan players suspected of taking bribes. He said he meant only that players who refused to cooperate should be suspended

"I am very sad about that because I know the Pakistan administrators very well indeed," MacLaurin said.

"I was with them in Nairobi just a few weeks ago at an ICC meeting and they are very honorable people.

"I get on very well with them and it would be very sad indeed if remarks are misinterpreted by journalists, for one reason or another, trying to put a wedge between ourselves and Pakistan."

New Zealand Cricket has also said it will set up an independent inquiry after former captain Martin Crowe was named in the report.

Crowe denies the allegations against him and has agreed to co-operate in the investigation.