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ICC probes Australia-Zimbabwe WC match: reports

March 01, 2011 12:17 IST

The International Cricket Council (ICC) carried out a scrutiny of the World Cup Group A match between Australia and Zimbabwe played in Ahmedabad last week after Australian openers Shane Watson and Brad Haddin batted slowly in the first 10 overs.

The two openers scored just 28 in 11 overs and 53 in 15 overs in a match that Australia eventually won comfortably but the slow rate of scoring in the first two overs was scrutinized by the ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ASCU).

The sources aware of developments said the ICC ACSU had carried out a quiet review of the match after questions were raised over the slow start taken by Watson and Haddin.

With the threat of spot-fixing now looming over international cricket following the bans on three Pakistan players for spot-fixing last year on the England tour, sources said the ICC ASCU is keeping a vigilant eye on all matches in the World Cup and the slow start by the Australian openers caught their attention.

"They are taking no chances at all and all matches are under the scanner for possible indications that any spot-fixing has taken place," one source said.

Shane WatsonAustralian team coach Tim Nielsen defended his openers saying they played slowly according to the situation.

"I thought they played well in game one. Everyone had this perception that they went slowly. But if Zimbabwe were going to be competitive against us, they needed to take early wickets with their spinners. We're playing the way we think is the right way to play," said Nielsen after the match.

Former Pakistan Test captain, Rashid Latif has already expressed fears that the format of the World Cup has opened a window for bookmakers to try to corrupt players in the tournament since most of the top teams are certain to make the quarter-finals.

In spot-fixing, the bookmakers take bets on particular moments and stages of a match for example how many runs would be scored by a team in five overs or after ten overs and so on or in a certain over how many runs will be scored or if it will be a maiden over.

Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir were hauled up after being found guilty of deliberately bowling no-balls during the fourth Test against England at Lords last year.

Plenty of fuss was also raised over the India and England match after former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne wrote on his Twitter account seven hours before the start of the match that it would be a tie.

England skipper Andrew Strauss claimed that Warne had shown he was a cricket genius with his correct prediction but others also observed that it was strange how one could predict a tie so early before a match.

Former Pakistan skipper Moin Khan said the Warne tweet could have been just a hunch but felt it has raised questions by many people.

Pakistan pacer Sohail Tanvir said on Geo Super that the ICC needs to keep a close eye on all matches of the World Cup as it was a mega event and a big attraction for bookmakers in the sub-continent.

Meanwhile, former Pakistan opener Aamir Sohail rued that if any Pakistani or Indian player had made the same tweet about having a tied match lot of hue and cry would have been raised in the western media by now.

"But since this prediction comes from a Australian player it is declared a stroke of genius," he added.

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