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'Indian businessman approached player for match fixing'

cricket Updated: May 26, 2010 20:24 IST

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In a shocking revelation, a seasoned English county player on Wednesday claimed that an Indian businessman had approached him to fix one-day domestic matches, a development, which sent alarms in the cricket fraternity.

A report in The Daily Telegraph said a player, who has more than 10 years' experience in English cricket was told by the Indian businessman to quote "his own price" and that "things are already happening in county cricket".

The player, who remains anonymous, has reported the incident to authorities and the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) would be contacting the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACU) on the player's behalf, the report said.

"They basically told me I could name my price for providing them with knowledge of the result of the game and they made me believe other counties are already involved," the player was quoted as saying in the report.

The matches in question could be those of Friends Provident Twenty20 Cup, which starts next week with more than 30 matches televised live overseas, it added.

The player was left with the perception that if he did not take the money then somebody else would.

"Their line of communication with me was that other people were already involved. I don't know if they were just telling me that to persuade me to get involved or whether it was serious. The idea was that I would take the offer into the dressing room to get the others to agree," he said.

"My worry with this is that there will be a situation where two of the smaller counties play against each other in a televised game and they could come to an agreement and make about five times their salary from one match.

"This problem is a lot more serious than people think. Others could be out there naming their own price. It is a scary thought," he said.

PCA legal director Ian Smith is working with ACU to make the process of reporting approaches from bookies foolproof.

"The PCA are determined to work with the ACU to develop a workable protocol that allows players to come forward with confidence," Smith said.

"We recognise that it is for the good of the game that players fulfill their duty to report approaches. We are aware of the concerns players might have over these issues and we will work with ACU to address those."

This incident came to light at a time when police are investigating two Essex players for alleged spot fixing during last season's Pro40 match between Essex and Durham.

Essex's Pakistani spinner Danish Kaneria and pacer Mervyn Westfield were arrested but they are out on bail now.

Writing in the same paper, former England captain Michael Vaughan said he believes this is not a one-off incident and he asked all cricketers to report such approaches and protect the credibility of county cricket.

"By speaking out I hope this player will shame others - and I am sure more players have been approached - into also going public.

"In the past, players have laughed off these kinds of approaches but now they must reveal the danger the game is facing. Its credibility is at stake," Vaughan said.

"This is further evidence that as far as the fixers are concerned, our game is ripe for corruption. That was always going to be the case as soon as county cricket was beamed abroad, which increased its exposure," he added.