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Match-fixing ghost resurfaces

The ghost of match-fixing seems to be resurfacing, as startling revelations by two senior players, including Bangladesh skipper Shakib-al-Hasan, rock the cricket world.

cricket Updated: May 27, 2010 11:50 IST

Bangladesh captain Shakib-al-Hasan, on Wednesday, disclosed that he was approached two years ago, by a suspicious individual to under-perform in an ODI at home in return for 'sponsorship'.

Talking to reporters on the eve of his side's first Test against England at Lord's, Shakib said he received a phone call from an unknown person who he believed wanted him to manipulate the result of an ODI against Ireland in 2008.

Shakib did not specify the exact date of the incident but apparently, the episode took place in Dhaka in March 2008. Shakib was not captaining the national side at that time.

He stated that he immediately reported the matter to a Bangladesh Cricket Board official and to Colonel Noor, the regional manager of ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, and never heard from the caller again. "It was a long time ago, probably two-and-a-half years ago, in our home conditions against Ireland," Shakib said.

"I didn't talk to him much because we had a team meeting to go to, so I told him 'I'll talk to you later' and immediately told a member of the board and the ICC guy. They took action and after that he never called me again," he added.

"He never exactly told me he wanted me to fix a match, he just told me he wanted to be my sponsor," he mentioned. The all-rounder said his head was very clear to steer clear of corruption and that he had never worried about money.

"I can't speak for anyone else, but as far as I'm concerned, my head wasn't turned at that time. What I feel is I do not care about the money. I want to play for my country, because that is a great pride for me, and I want to continue to do well for my country. As far as my family is concerned, we are settled enough to lead our lives, so I am not concerned about those monies. If I play well for the next ten years, the money will come and I won't have to worry about it," he said.

Shakib's disclosure came on a day when a seasoned county cricketer made a shocking revelation that an Indian businessman approached him to fix one-day matches in English domestic cricket. A report in 'The Daily Telegraph' said a player, who has more than 10 years of experience in English cricket, was approached 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 would be contacting the ICC's ACSU on the player's behalf, the report said. "They basically told me I could name my price for providing them 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.

First Published: May 27, 2010 11:02 IST