Galle cricket ground pitch doctoring in Sri Lanka.
Galle cricket ground pitch doctoring in Sri Lanka.

Match-fixing allegations rock Aussie team

CRIMINALS have made sensational claims that they paid-off two unnamed Australian batsmen to fix a period of play in a Test match against India last year.

Cricket Australia have condemned the allegations from the Ranchi Test match as "not credible" but will co-operate fully with a full International Cricket Council anti-corruption unit investigation.

These are the same match-fixers who also claim to have corrupted the groundsman who prepared the pitch for a match Australia lost to Sri Lanka in 2016.

They also claim to have got to three unnamed England players during a Test match the Brits played against India, also in 2017.

Galle cricket ground pitch doctoring in Sri Lanka.
Galle cricket ground pitch doctoring in Sri Lanka.

The allegations have spawned from an Al Jazeera documentary (see below) which secretly filmed the criminals and prompted them into boasting about their ability to fix cricket games.

Al Jazeera's secret footage contains recordings of one of the criminals calling from the Ranchi ground and insisting the run rate would stagnate and "it will be a low score in the last over" of the session.

However, the interview footage lacks a time stamp to verify the timing of the recording and batsmen typically bat cautiously in the final over of a session - especially in a match where Australia was fighting for a draw on a docile pitch.

There is no way the fixers could have known which Australian players were going to be at the crease at that exact period of the match.

The names of Australian players are bleeped out by Al Jazeera and the period of play the fixers are referring to is also not revealed.

Cricket Australia is angry Al Jazeera has refused to provide them a copy of the documentary in advance, but last night said the allegations contained no "credible evidence" to implicate Australian cricketers.

"Although not having been provided an opportunity to view the documentary or any raw footage, our longstanding position on these matters is that credible claims will be treated very seriously and fully investigated," said CEO of CA James Sutherland.

"Cricket Australia will continue to fully co-operate with the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit in its review of the matter," Sutherland said in a statement. "Neither the ICC or Cricket Australia is aware of any credible evidence linking Australian players to corruption in the game.

"We urge Al Jazeera to provide all unedited materials and any other evidence to the ICC Investigation team, so, if appropriate, a full and thorough investigation can be conducted."

Warren Brown, cartoon, match fixing, cricket, India
Warren Brown, cartoon, match fixing, cricket, India

Al Jazeera has said it will hand over material to the ICC and confirmed it had failed in its attempts to contact players.

Earlier released aspects of the documentary claim the curator from Australia's 2016 Test against Sri Lanka was paid off by criminals to prepare a treacherous pitch that would ensure a result.

It was revealed by The Australian during that Test back in 2016 that the pitch had been doctored.

The Test finished in just two and a half days and Australian players at the time complained how poor the wicket was.

The Al Jazeera documentary uses hidden cameras to film former Indian first-class player Robin Morris, Indian businessman Gaurav Rajkumar and the Galle Stadium assistant manager Tharanga India to reveal how the fix was orchestrated.

Cricket Australia contacted players and their managers to brief them about the documentary.

Robin Morris, the former Indian first-class cricketer, boastfully claimed he could get to players and groundsmen.

"I have a set of 30 players who will play what I tell them to do," he said.

Business partner Rajkumar said: "We don't care about the entertainment as long as we are making our money."