LONDON: The International Cricket Council (ICC) is investigating claims that Indian bookmakers are fixing the results of England county games and international fixtures, Britain's Sunday Times reported.
The newspaper said it had uncovered evidence that tens of thousands of pounds (dollars) was on offer to players to throw part or all of international matches, including last year's World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan.
It cited one Delhi bookmaker boasting that English county cricket was also a “good new market”, as it involved “low-profile matches and nobody monitors them. That's why good money can be made there without any hassle”.
According to the report, batsmen can earn up to #44,000 ($69,000) for slow scoring and bowlers can earn #50,000 ($78,000) for conceding runs in set patterns, with #750,000 ($1.2 million) on the table for a player or official who can guarantee the outcome of a match.
The paper's undercover reporters cite fixers as saying they had recruited players from countries including England with the help of a Bollywood actress in a honeytrap.
The allegations come just weeks after former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield became the first English cricketer to be jailed for corruption after admitting accepting money to fix a match against Durham in September 2009.
Last year, Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were also jailed in Britain for their role in an entirely separate 'spot-fixing' scandal concerning a 2010 Test match against England. An ICC spokesman said it would investigate the new allegations.
“We are grateful for the information you have provided and will launch an inquiry into these serious allegations,” he told The Sunday Times.
“Betting on cricket in the legal and illegal markets continues to grow rapidly and, with many, many millions of dollars being bet on every match, the threat of corrupters seeking to influence the game has not gone away.”
In January, after Westfield had pleaded guilty to his corruption charges, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) launched a “reporting window” to encourage players and officials to come forward with information about corruption.
The amnesty allowed them to report past approaches without fear of punishment. It is usually against ECB regulations not to report any alleged corruption within the sport.