SYDNEY: Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell said on Tuesday he was left ‘shocked and hurt’ to be implicated in a match-fixing documentary that called into question his maiden Test century, but admitted events in the IPL have left him ‘unsure’ about their legitimacy.
Al Jazeera aired allegations in May, shining the spotlight directly on last year’s drawn Test between Australia and India in Ranchi as one of several to be questioned across the world. In the documentary, a criminal claims two unnamed Australian batsmen were paid off to bat slowly during a period of play in the Test when he makes a phone call from the ground in Ranchi.
The documentary did not identify any players by name, but details on the state of play and slightly blurred footage that made playing kit distinguishable made Maxwell easily identifiable.
“I was shocked. I was a bit hurt by it as well,” Maxwell told Melbourne-based SEN radio. “To have these allegations about your involvement in a game where you’ve only got happy memories about it, great memories … I still remember the feeling after hugging Steve Smith after getting my maiden Test hundred.
“To have that tarnished by these allegations was pretty devastating and obviously there’s absolutely no truth to it whatsoever.
“It was 100 per cent unfair to tarnish one of best moments of my career was pretty brutal. The only thing they could have done worse was tarnish that World Cup title victory [in 2015]. They’re two of the best moments of my career.
“To say I’d done anything untoward in that game, when I’d just finally got back in the Test side — I’d worked my absolute backside off — to say I’d do anything to ruin that would be absolutely ridiculous.”
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said there was no credible evidence linking Australian players to corruption and CA called on the broadcaster to turn over evidence to the ICC’s anti-corruption investigators.
“Cricket Australia and the ICC take a zero-tolerance approach against anyone trying to compromise the integrity of the game,” Sutherland said in a statement at the time. “Neither the ICC or Cricket Australia is aware of any credible evidence linking Australian players to corruption in the game.”
Maxwell said he had been pre-warned about the documentary by Cricket Australia before it was aired and left any legal response in the organisation’s hands.
“If [the documentary] mentioned any names, they would be taken down pretty heavily,” Maxwell said. “They didn’t mention any specific names but did basically say the time of the game, which was my involvement.
“You could see it was the gear that I was using, and there wasn’t anyone else using that gear in that game. That was certainly very hard to take.”
Maxwell said he had a good relationship with cricket’s anti-corruption officials, having previously had long conversations during his time at the IPL.
“I’ve been very honest with them [anti-corruption officials] the whole way through with the IPL,” said Maxwell. “If I’ve ever seen anything untoward I always sat down with them, had a long coffee and just talked about everything to make sure nothing ever, ever comes back to me.
“If there’s anything slightly amiss, I always give them a call and make sure they have every bit of evidence they can possible have.
“There are some things you see in the game of cricket where you’re always just a little bit unsure.
“All the things you do hear in the game, and when it comes out later on you go, ‘Oh, I swear I could have noticed that while I was watching it’.
“It was probably easier when I was captain and I was able to see the way game was going, and the instructions that I was giving players, and the way the game was moving I could actually work it out a little better.
“There wasn’t really anything untoward in season I was captain, but you could certainly tell from opposition stuff and that’s why I reported certain things.”
The documentary also claimed the pitch for the 2016 Galle Test between Sri Lanka and Australia was doctored. In that Test, 18 Australian wickets fell to spin bowling as the tourists failed to bat more than 85 overs across both innings.
Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2018