Suspected match-fixers should face lie detector, says Waugh

Players may be asked to take lie-detector tests to help stop cricket match-fixing. The idea has been proposed by Steve Waugh, one of the toughest of all cricketers, who is to lead a new anti-corruption team to clean up the game.

As the Ashes enters its crucial phase with both teams desperate to win the third Test, the world of illegal bookies, betting scams and rigged fixtures seemed thousands of miles away – as indeed most things are from Perth. But the MCC world cricket committee, consisting of 19 former players and umpires – many of them true greats – has been at the Waca urgently discussing what can be done to ensure the game regains its purity.

"Match-fixing is the greatest issue concerning the game right now," said Waugh, who has been on the committee since it was set up four years ago to deal with significant cricketing issues as an independent but influential voice. "Personally, I get a bit sick and tired of answering questions about match-fixing: 'What do you know about it? Why is it in the game? What's happening?' For all players it's something we don't want and something we've got to work towards getting a better situation.

"The lie-detector test idea came from me. I was thinking about how we can make players more accountable for their actions. If you have done nothing wrong, why wouldn't you have a lie-detector test to say you have done nothing wrong? Of course, you can't make it compulsory, but I'm saying that if players want to take a lie-detector test to show they have done nothing wrong then I don't see anything wrong with that. It's just one step, it doesn't mean everyone has to take it."

Of course, once a player declined the offer to be wired up to a polygraph the cloud of suspicion would immediately descend. "Why wouldn't you take it if you have nothing to hide? I guess that's the way we're thinking, let's see if we can help this situation," said Waugh.

The next logical step might be to have lie-detector tests available during matches to help umpires: "Did you nick that ball behind?" "No," you say, but the polygraph says you're lying so you're out, chum.

The proposal gained an immediate welcome from the ICC, which issued a statement saying: "We have a zero tolerance policy towards corruption and we would consider anything, including lie-detector tests, which would help us stamp it out."

Although the MCC World Cricket Committee has no official status its membership is so gilded that it has had a profound influence on ICC policy. It wants to amend the Laws of the game, of which it remains the guardian and arbiter, through the Spirit of Cricket Preamble, to forbidding specifically corrupt practices to determine any aspect of a match.

Of more wide-ranging effect might be the committee's proposal to try to legalise and regulate betting markets in India. It is widely held that illegal bookies on the subcontinent are at the hub of match-fixing. Waugh, who has been appointed to lead a WCC working party to make firm recommendations, has not ruled out the idea of going to India to try to track down the illegal markets.

"We've got to do our research but quite a few members of this committee think this is something we should seriously look at," he said. "I think there would be less room for players to be corrupted if it's legitimate."

But having led Australia in 57 Test matches, Waugh pinpointed where corruption was likely to start in teams. "One of the main points is the captains," he said. "They have got to be mentors and role models to the young guys in their sides.

"Look back at most of the issues confronting match-fixing, they have only been instigated because the captains have been involved and once the captains have been involved younger players see that and think, 'Well, if it's OK for him, it's OK for me', and once you have taken that first step you're committed. That's the big issue, let's get our captains setting an example and if they do the right thing it's going to be hard for the other players to step out of line."

Waugh no doubt had in mind the examples of Mohammad Azharuddin and Hansie Cronje, both of whom were banned for life after they were found to be match-fixers. More recently, Salman Butt of Pakistan has been suspended from international cricket pending inquiries into alleged misdemeanours during the fourth Test at Lord's between England and Pakistan last August which led to the present round of soul-searching.

Tony Lewis, the chairman of the World Cricket Committee, said: "Cricket has moved on a bit and we've had serious discussions this week. We're knee- deep in corruption and all the things we don't want to see in the game."

Waugh also offered his observations on the Ashes series. "Anything can happen in sport," he said. "The uncertainty is what keeps us coming back. It's only 1-0 in a five-Test series. It's unlikely if you look at form that we can turn it round but anything can happen in sport. But right now you'd have to say England are favourites." Nobody asked him to take a lie-detector test.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London