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Match-fixing wiped out from cricket: ICC

ICC chief Ehsan Mani also gave a clean chit to the India-New Zealand Videocon Cup final played in Zimbabwe last year.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2006 17:20 IST

International Cricket Council (ICC) President Ehsan Mani says match-fixing has been completely wiped out of the game thanks to the stringent protocols set up by ICC's Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU).

Mani also gave a clean chit to the India-New Zealand Videocon Cup final in Zimbabwe in September last year, saying the visit of ACSU officials to India soon after that was a "routine" one.

"What I am absolutely convinced today -- and I have been absolutely assured by our ACSU -- is that there is no organised match-fixing. Am absolutely convinced about that," Mani said.

"We have got full assurance that that is not the case, and the protocols they have set up makes it very, very difficult for that to happen," said Mani who will be completing his three-year tenure next month.

Match-fixing came to light when late South Africa captain Hansie Cronje's phone was tapped by Delhi Police while he was talking to an alleged bookie from New Delhi in early 2000.

The United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) launched an enquiry and Cronje and others were barred from the game before the captain died in a plane crash.

In India, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) investigated the issue, following which four players -- Mohammed Azharuddin, Manoj Prabhakar, Ajay Jadeja, Ajay Sharma -- and physiotherapist Ali Irani were banned for their alleged role in match-fixing for different periods.

Alarmed, the ICC set up ACSU in 2001 and since then its managers have been present -- and closely monitored -- at every international match played.

On the Videocon Cup final that New Zealand won by six wickets at Harare and the subsequent visit of ACSU officials to India last year, Mani said: "First, the incident that you refer to was nothing but pure speculation. There was no question of any investigation that they carried out.

"As far as visits by ACSU officials are concerned, they go round the world all the time. Every international match is monitored by them, every decision (by umpires) is monitored by them."

The Pakistani-born Mani said: "They look for anything suspicious, and if there is something they look into it. It's routine work for them."

A chartered accountant by profession, Mani said the ACSU has played an important role in educating new players about match-fixing besides checking the malaise.

"The most constructive role that ACSU plays today, apart from the security of players, is the education programme for young cricketers coming in," he said.

"No player goes and plays his first (international) match without being spoken to by our ACSU people. So they are educated about the issues, warned about the issues, they are told what to do if they are approached, they know how to seek help so that they are not harmed in anyway."

ACSU, which works independently of ICC, has five regional managers who are present at every Test and one-day international played around the world. They send a confidential report to the ICC after every series.

First Published: Apr 29, 2006 12:40 IST