ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat has been moved to react to a news story published in the Times of India alleging incidents of corruption in the ICC Cricket World Cup match between Australia and Zimbabwe.
While Australian openers Shane Watson and Brad Haddin started their innings slowly in that match, few seasoned cricket viewers and anybody who had been watching much of the tournament, thought anything untoward was going on. Both players were taking their time on a slow pitch against a wily operator in Ray Price and the team were making their first appearance of the tournament.
Most will have reacted as Haddin did to suggestions that his side were under any sort of scrutiny from the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) – by laughing it off as nonsense.
However, the fact that we are still discussing the issue this deep into the tournament, and long since Zimbabwe have returned home, goes to show how seriously any allegations are being taken at the moment.
In a strongly-worded statement, Lorgat said: “An article by Mr Dayal in yesterday’s newspaper made a number of claims about an ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 match between Australia and Zimbabwe that can only be described as fictional.
“We do not comment on the activities of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) and for good reason. However, after several misleading and downright false stories appearing in recent weeks it is time for us to show our displeasure and expose those responsible for affecting the integrity of the media.
“It is also patently false of the reporter to claim that the ICC ever suggested to it that the match was corrupted. The ICC confirms that, in terms of its policy, at no stage did anyone from the ICC speak to the journalist on this topic.”
It is unusual for the ICC to so much as pass comment on such speculation and articles but it does show how important they feel it is to prove that the game is as clean as they can possibly make it.
The last thing this World Cup – which to be fair has produced some great entertainment – needs is any hint of corruption or wrongdoing, particularly in the wake of Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif all being banned following spot-fixing late last year.
And that is why the ICC has felt it important to condemn what it calls such ‘wild claims’ of corruption in order to protect the integrity of cricket.