New Delhi/Melbourne: A sting operation has claimed to unearth ‘pitch-fixing’ and ‘spot-fixing’ in Test matches featuring heavyweights like India and Australia but the ICC said its investigation into the allegations is being hampered by the channel’s refusal to share evidence. The sting has been carried out by the Al Jazeera channel and the matches in question are India vs Sri Lanka (Galle, July 26-29, 2017), India vs Australia (Ranchi, March 16-20, 2017) and India vs England (Chennai, December 16-20, 2016). The first and third Tests mentioned were won by India while the Ranchi encounter ended in a draw.
The charges – pitch could have been doctored at the behest of fixers (India vs Sri Lanka), and involvement of some Australian and England players in spot-fixing the other two games. However, no Indian player’s name has cropped up in any wrongdoing. The ICC said it is investigating but also stated that the channel has not cooperated in the matter. “We have been in ongoing dialogue with the broadcaster which has refused our continual requests to cooperate and share information which has hampered our investigation to date,” ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit General Manager Alex Marshal said in a statement after Al Jazeera aired its hour-long documentary, ‘Cricket’s Match Fixers’.
The only Indian connection to the scandal is former Mumbai cricketer Robin Morris, who is now alleged to be a match-fixer. The BCCI said it would wait for the outcome of the ICC investigation before deciding on stopping his pension for a 42-match first-class career. Morris has reportedly denied any wrongdoing and cried conspiracy before turning his mobile phone off and deleting his Facebook account. Cricket Australia too responded cautiously and said it would need more details before acting. England and Wales Cricket Board Chief Executive Tom Harisson, on the other hand, outrightly rejected the allegations surrounding the 2016 India-England Test in Chennai.