As breathless fans count down the hours to cricket’s biggest spectacle, the shadow of fixing isn’t too far away.
The International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) has submitted a dossier with the names of 100 suspected bookies and their ‘honey traps’ to the police forces of Australia and New Zealand —joint hosts of the World Cup that kicks off on Saturday.
Of the 100 names, 95 are Indians and include an actor-turned-bookie arrested and jailed in the IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal. MK — a key bookie in the 2000 match-fixing scandal whose whereabouts are since unknown — also makes the list with other hard-core Indian bookies.
“Beside one Mumbai actress, two women from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are also named as suspected honey traps used by the bookies,” a senior ASCU official told HT.
For the first time in the history of the World Cup, the ICC has signed a memorandum of understanding with the police of the host nations to help nab ‘corrupters’ who, according to the ACSU, are trying to lure young players with expensive gifts and women.
The New Zealand and Australian governments, too, have introduced legislation that makes fixing matches, or attempting to do so, a criminal offence.
“Spot-fixers are almost like paedophiles in how they attempt to groom players to whatever suits the nefarious intentions in terms of illegal betting,” ACSU chief Ronnie Flanagan had said last week.