Match-fixers have their eye on rigging England vs Sri Lanka clash
A plot to fix a forthcoming England cricket match has been exposed by an investigation by The Daily Telegraph in London.
Match fixers have been caught discussing plans to rig England's first test on their tour of Sri Lanka, scheduled to begin on November 6. An undercover journalist, posing as a businessman looking to place bets on the match, filmed a match fixer and the groundsman of the stadium in Galle agreeing to help alter the outcome.
The "wicket fixing" plot involves doctoring the pitch to make it impossible for the contest to end in a draw. Such tactics would allow those involved to profit from placing bets against that outcome.
The match-fixing allegations come from a documentary entitled Cricket's match-fixers, to be broadcast by Al Jazeera tonight (22.00 South African time).
The programme will put pressure on England to cancel their tour unless the integrity of the series can be safeguarded.
The International Cricket Council (ICC), the sport's world governing body, has opened an investigation. Alex Marshall, head of the ICC's anti-corruption unit, said: "We will take the contents of the programme and any allegations it may make very seriously."An England & Wales Cricket Board spokesman said: "ECB are aware of the planned Al Jazeera documentary, though not the full content. We endorse the ICC's position and fully support their work and investigations."
The Sri Lanka test ploy would not require any player to cheat. Instead, it would rely on ground staff producing a pitch on which the ball bounces so unpredictably the game could not last the full five days, as batsmen would find it hard to score runs.
The film footage features Robin Morris, a former professional cricketer from Mumbai; Tharindu Mendis, a professional from Colombo; and Tharanga Indika, an assistant manager at Galle International Stadium. They are shown discussing doctoring pitches with an undercover reporter. Asked when the next such fix would be carried out, Morris replies: "England v Sri Lanka."
Asked if he could fix the surface so a draw would be impossible, Indika replies: "Yes, I can. I can confirm it in advance one week before."