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Rediff.com  » Cricket » ICC investigating another corruption scandal; Ind-SL Test under scanner

ICC investigating another corruption scandal; Ind-SL Test under scanner

Last updated on: May 26, 2018 18:57 IST

The Australian newspaper reported on Saturday the documentary will allege spot-fixers bribed the groundsman at Galle to doctor the pitch used for the 2016 second Test between hosts Sri Lanka and Australia.

Last year's Test between Sri Lanka and India at Galle was also under suspicion, while match-fixers have also targeted England's Test at the same venue in November, according to The Australian.

Sri Lanka players celebrate win over Australia

IMAGE: Sri Lanka players celebrate win over Australia. Photograph: Cricket Australia/Twitter

‘The International Cricket Council has launched an investigation into corruption allegations in the sport made in a documentary to be aired by news organisation Al Jazeera on Sunday.

The documentary allegedly uncovers a groundsman agreeing to doctor pitches for Test matches involving some of the world's top teams.

"The ICC is aware of an investigation into corruption in cricket by a news organisation and as you would expect we will take the contents of the programme and any allegations it may make very seriously," the governing body said in a statement on its website.

"We have already launched an investigation working with anti-corruption colleagues from Member countries based on the limited information we have received.

"We have made repeated requests that all evidence and supporting materials relating to corruption in cricket is released immediately to enable us to undertake a full and comprehensive investigation."

The Australian newspaper reported on Saturday the documentary will allege spot-fixers bribed the groundsman at Galle to doctor the pitch used for the 2016 second Test between hosts Sri Lanka and Australia.

The touring side were bowled out for 106 and 183 in the match and lost by 229 runs in less than three days.

Last year's Test between Sri Lanka and India at Galle was also under suspicion, while match-fixers have also targeted England's Test at the same venue in November, according to The Australian.

 The match in question was the first Test between India and Sri Lanka at Galle from July 26-29.

"The groundsman, Tharanga Indika, assistant manager at the Galle stadium, says he can make pitches to favour either bowlers or batsmen. If you want a pitch for spin bowling or pace bowling or batting, it can be done," the channel claimed on its website.

In the clipping, the 41-year-old Morris, who played 42 first-class matches but never competed for India, gestures towards Indika, and says: "What happens is he -- we -- can make a pitch to do whatever we want it to do."

"Because he's the main curator. He is the assistant manager and curator of the Galle stadium," the website quotes Morris.

The track in that match was a belter on which India won by 304 runs. India scored 600 in the first innings with Shikhar Dhawan plundering 190 and Cheteshwar Pujara 153.

 In the second innings, India managed 240 for three declared with skipper Virat Kohli scoring an unbeaten hundred. Sri Lanka could only muster 291 and 245 in their two innings and were beaten comprehensively within four days.

Indika allegedly claimed to the website that he prepared the pitch for the batsmen.

"India was set for a batting wicket. We pressed the wicket thoroughly with a roller and then we put water on it to make it even harder," he has been quoted as saying in the video of the sting.

Morris, who had also played in the controversy-mired and now defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL), allegedly told the undercover reporter that he will provide him with leads to place bets.

In fact, the former India U-19 seamer-all-rounder also claimed that the next "pitch fix" will happen during England's tour of Sri Lanka in November, this year at the same venue.

Last year, an Indian channel claimed to have done a sting operation on former Maharashtra pacer and Pune curator Pandurang Salgaocar claiming that he had agreed to doctor the strip for a ODI against New Zealand.

However after ICC ACU's investigation, Salgaocar was absolved of any wrongdoing but was handed a token retrospective suspension for failing to report a corrupt approach.

Sri Lanka Cricket later said in a statement that it would fully cooperate with the world governing body as they probe the allegations and that their CEO Ashley De Silva was in contact with ICC's anti-corruption unit and CEO David Richardson.

"Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to state that it has zero tolerance towards corruption and will take immediate action against any person involved in the alleged incident, if found guilty," the statement added.

Match-fixing has become a major concern for the sport in recent years with a high-profile incident involving Pakistan on a previous tour to England forming one of cricket's low points.

Pakistani trio Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, who is back playing for the national team, were part of a gambling-inspired plot to bowl no-balls at pre-arranged times during a Test match against England at Lord's in August 2010.

All three players served time in prison and were handed multi-year bans from the game after a ICC tribunal found them guilty of spot-fixing.

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