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  1. #1
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    Australia-Sri Lanka Test at Galle in August 2016 was allegedly corrupted by criminals

    Cricket faces another match-fixing scandal after allegations the Australia-Sri Lanka Test at Galle in August 2016 was corrupted by criminals who paid off a key member of the ground staff.

    The Weekend Australian published an exclusive story on the third day of the match claiming the wicket had been doctored. Those allegations have now been backed by the investigative unit of broadcaster Al Jazeera, which will air further claims in a documentary that goes to air tomorrow morning.

    Batting second, Australia lost all 20 wickets in just 501 deliveries and lost the match by 229 runs. David Warner topscored in both innings with knocks of 42 and 41 as Sri Lanka’s spinners ran amok on a wicket that was allegedly doctored to ensure there would be a result.

    The criminals boasted they had bet large amounts on the match not ending in a draw. The Test was over in 2½ days and the Australian batsmen were widely condemned for their performance. There is no suggestion the Australian players were aware of the plans.

    Eight of the visitors posted single-digit scores as the side was bowled out for 106 in the first innings. Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja were dropped from the next match as a result of their failures in the Test.

    The men also claimed they fixed a match in July last year at Galle against India, ensuring the wicket was hard and true. The men said they laid money on a high first-innings score and were rewarded when India made 600.

    The Al Jazeera investigation uses secret cameras to record *former first-class player Robin Morris, Dubai-based Indian businessman Gaurav Rajkumar and the Galle stadium assistant manager, Tharanga Indika, discussing how the fix was arranged and offering to repeat it.

    Another alleged accomplice, Sri Lankan first-class player Tharindu Mendis, is also filmed in one of the meetings.

    The Australian side was concerned in 2016 about the difficulties of batting on an extraordinarily dry wicket, with Warner speaking later about what they faced.

    “You’re sitting ducks when you’re facing six balls in a row — one of them is going to have your name on it,” the opener explained. “People don’t realise that you’re going out here — day one and day two and it’s turning square.”

    The Weekend Australian was alerted on the morning of the third day to further attempts by the ground staff to aid spinners and end the match early.

    Photographs obtained at the time revealed a deep scouring that had appeared overnight in the area where the spinners would land the ball. Match referee Chris Broad was seen arguing with the curator at the time, but gave the wicket a pass mark.

    Al Jazeera’s crew filmed the *curator and those who claimed they arranged the sting explaining that wire brushes used to sweep the pitch were used more firmly to gain the effect.

    “One thing he can do during the match is the brush thing,” Mendis explained.

    “You just do it slowly. What they do then is press it inward,” Morris added.

    In the program, the groundsman and assistant manager at the stadium, Indika, describes how he made a pitch to favour bowlers and make it difficult for batsmen.

    “In that five-day match, we prepared the wicket poorly without using a roller. In that way we made a spinning wicket,” he said.

    At a meeting in a hotel in Galle, Morris gestured towards the groundsman, Indika, and said: “What happens is he — we — can make a pitch to do whatever we want it to do.

    “Because he’s the main curator. He is the assistant manager and curator of the Galle stadium.

    “Yes, if you want a pitch for spin bowling or pace bowling or batting, it can be done,” Indika said.

    Indika, 43, explained on footage captured by a hidden camera how he prepared the pitch for a game such as the one the Australians participated in.

    “We leave the wicket uncovered for about two weeks. Don’t water it and this will cause damage to the wicket,” he says.

    The match fixers claimed they did their preparation before the ICC arrived to inspect the pitch.

    The Al Jazeera team posed as people keen to be part of match fixing, meeting with various parties in Mumbai and Galle. The groundsman abruptly left the meeting he attended in a Sri Lankan hotel, the masterminds explaining he was nervous about being caught as his predecessor in the job had been.

    The fixers claimed they paid the groundsman $37,000 to doctor a Test match and explained to the undercover reporters that they did not want any money upfront but would take 30 per cent of winnings if they became involved.

    The ICC confirmed this week it was investigating the complaints.

    “We have already launched an investigation working with anti-corruption colleagues from member countries based on the limited information we have received,” the organisation said. “We have made repeated requests that all evidence and supporting materials relating to corruption in cricket is released immediately to enable us to undertake a full and comprehensive investigation.”

    Cricket Australia contacted players during the week to alert them to the allegations. Rajkumar and Morris denied they were involved in match fixing, claiming they believed they were filming a movie. Indika said his conversations were to be hospitable.

    Cricket’s match fixers will be shown on Al Jazeera English at 6am tomorrow (AEST) and at 10pm on Monday.

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/spo...642a5411777120


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  2. #2
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    Exposed: How 'betting scam match fixers' planned to rig England cricket Test

    A plot to fix an upcoming England cricket match has been exposed by an undercover investigation, the Telegraph can reveal.

    Match fixers have been caught discussing plans to rig the outcome of England’s first Test in 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 match venue 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 dishonestly from placing bets against that outcome with unsuspecting bookmakers.

    The match-fixing allegations come from a documentary entitled Cricket’s Match-fixers, to be broadcast by Al Jazeera on Sunday night.

    The programme will put pressure on England to cancel their tour to Sri Lanka unless the integrity of the series there can be safeguarded.

    The International Cricket Council, the sport's world governing body, opened an investigation after learning of the documentary.

    Alex Marshall, head of the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit, said: "As you would expect, 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.”

    Sunday's programme will coincide with the potential climax of England’s first Test of the summer against Pakistan.

    It comes eight years after one of sport’s biggest fixing scams saw three Pakistan players jailed for "spot fixing" after it emerged they had agreed to take bribes from a "bookmaker" in exchange for deliberately bowling no balls. Bowler Mohammad Amir, one of the three suspended for his role in the plot, is currently playing against England in the First Test at Lord's.

    Members of the Pakistan team were also reprimanded on the opening day of the current contest for wearing smart watches banned by anti-corruption chiefs, although there is no suggestion they were being used for nefarious purposes.

    The Sri Lanka Test ploy would differ from previous fixing plots in that carrying it out would not require any player to cheat.

    Instead, it would rely solely on ground staff producing a pitch on which the ball bounces so unpredictably – thus making getting batsmen out as easy as possible – that the game could not last the full five days.

    The film footage features Robin Morris, a former professional cricketer from Mumbai, India, Tharindu Mendis, a professional player from Colombo, and Tharanga Indika, an assistant manager at Galle International Stadium.

    They are shown discussing doctoring pitches during a meeting with an undercover reporter prior to the announcement of the date of the Sri Lanka Test at the Galle ground.

    Asked when the next such fix would be carried out at there, Morris replies: “England v Sri Lanka. It’s in October, England v Sri Lanka.”

    When the reporter says, “The next one he [Indika] will doctor the pitch for is Sri Lanka versus England?”, Mendis nods his head.

    Asked if he could fix the surface for the England match so a draw would be impossible, Indika replies: “Yes, I can. I can confirm it in advance one week before.”

    When the subject of ensuring the Sri Lanka v England Test would be finished inside four days is raised during a second meeting, Indika says, laughing: “I can do it in two-and-half.”

    The reporter earlier asks Indika if he is confident he could keep knowledge of any pitch-doctoring within a small circle of people and prevent any leaks.

    He replies “Yeah, sure”, adding that he trusted only “three or four” members of his 17-strong ground staff to help him.

    Explaining how he could produce a surface that would make a draw all but impossible, he says: “We leave the wicket uncovered for about two weeks. Don’t water it and this will cause damage to the wicket.”

    Mendis says other ways to fool pitch inspectors sent to every international match by the sport’s governing body, the International Cricket Council, include watering the pitch for half as long as necessary and using a special “brush” during the game itself.

    Indika confirms he could produce a pitch to favour either bowlers or batsmen, saying: “Yes, if you want a pitch for spin bowling or pace bowling or batting, it can be done.”

    Morris says Indika had already doctored the wicket for the most recent Test played at Galle in July between Sri Lanka and India.

    Indika adds of the match, which the tourists won by 304 runs inside four days after posting a massive 610 runs in their first innings: “India was set for a batting wicket. Our guys didn’t play well.”

    Doctoring a pitch in that way would allow a fixer to bet dishonestly on a team scoring unexpectedly heavily when batting first.

    Gesturing towards Indika, Morris says: “What happens is he – we – can make a pitch to do whatever we want it to do. Because he’s the main curator. He is the assistant manager and curator of the Galle stadium.”

    Morris, who played 42 first-class matches for Mumbai and also represented Mumbai Champs in the Indian Cricket League – an unofficial forerunner of the lucrative Indian Premier League – adds that he spreads his bets to avoid arousing suspicion.

    “We hit 10 bookies in one go,” he reveals.

    He also claims doctoring a pitch to suit bowlers is safer than for batsmen as “batsmen can make mistakes”.

    It has long been customary in cricket for pitches to be produced that favour the home team – sometimes controversially so – within guidelines laid down by the ICC.

    But the claims that some are being doctored in order to fix the outcome of a match for the purposes of betting fraud will shock many in the game.

    Ground staff at major venues are arguably more susceptible to bribery than top players because they earn far less, with Morris telling the documentary that fixers paid groundsmen 25 lakh Indian rupees (£27,400) to doctor the pitch for one Test, the equivalent of eight years’ salary.

    He also claims a previous Galle groundsman had even “got caught doing this”, without giving any more detail. Betting is illegal in India but is home to an estimated 100,000 bookmakers.

    The Indian betting market has been estimated by KPMG to be worth £45bn. Ed Hawkins, a cricket author who has written a book on match-fixing, says in the documentary: “If you know what the pitch is going to do, you can make a hell of a lot of money. To have that inside information, it’s a licence to print money.”

    Morris denies any wrongdoing. He says Al Jazeera invited him to audition for, and act in, a commercial movie “for public entertainment”.

    Indika denies any involvement in pitch-fixing, saying any conversations he had with journalists were to show courtesy to foreign tourists.

    Mendis did not respond to requests for comment.


    Stumping the bookmaker: Pitch condition is key issue

    The pitch has more impact on the outcome of a cricket match than any other sport.

    It can decide which team has the better prospects, which bowlers are most effective – and, in a Test match, even the chances it will end in a victory for either side or a draw.

    In the Asian subcontinent, the heat can produce pitches that quickly crumble and become dusty and so tend to be an advantage to spin bowlers. Poorly prepared wickets can also bounce unpredictably, meaning that batsmen cannot get in a reliable position to play the ball.

    In such conditions, Test matches are likely to end well within four days. In English conditions, pitches that are green and retain moisture tend to favour seam bowling, making draws unlikely.

    Pitches can also be prepared for favourable batting conditions, maximising the chances of teams making large first-innings totals, and the match ending in a draw. Slow and low pitches, achieved by the groundsman using the roller extensively, offer minimal assistance for bowlers.

    Awareness of how a pitch is likely to play could virtually guarantee a huge profit for match-fixers. If they know a pitch is likely to help bowlers, they can be almost certain a Test match will be over within the allotted five days – and so bet against the draw, thereby ensuring a profit whichever team wins. If a pitch is known to offer scant assistance to bowlers, fixers can bet on a draw in advance.


    Caught out: Cricket’s match-fixing scandals

    1998 Australians Shane Warne and Mark Waugh were found to have accepted money from a bookmaker during a tour of Sri Lanka in 1994-95

    2000 Pakistan captain Salim Malik was found guilty of match-fixing and banned for life

    2000 Batsman Hansie Cronje was sacked by South Africa days after he denied fixing one-day matches against India. His team-mates Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams received six-month bans after they admitted accepting an offer to underperform in a one-day international in India

    2008 Jamaican all-rounder Marlon Samuels was banned for two years after he was found guilty of “receiving money, or benefit or other reward that could bring him or the game of cricket into disrepute” during the Windies tour of India in 2007

    2010 Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir took bribes in return for bowling no-balls during Pakistan’s Test match against England

    2012 Essex fast bowler Mervyn Westfield became the first English cricketer to be convicted for spot-fixing, after accepting a £6,000 bribe for bowling wides during the domestic season. He received a four-month prison sentence and a life ban.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/201...gland-cricket/


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  3. #3
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    This is terrible and a huge blow for SL Cricket.


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  4. #4
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    Sounds like crap, like Australia were ever going to do anything but lost miserably on a wicket prepared to turn due to home advantage!!!!!!????

  5. #5
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    Ah the telegraph.... bringing in a reference to Pakistan where none was needed

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Rose View Post
    Ah the telegraph.... bringing in a reference to Pakistan where none was needed
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  7. #7
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    Not much of a surprise sadly SL cricket has gone to the dogs. That drawn run-fest against BD in 2013 at Galle also comes to mind. Apparently the upcoming Test there against Eng later this year was on the rig list as well.

    Exposed: the plot to fix an England cricket match

  8. #8
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    http://www.skysports.com/cricket/new...e-england-test

    The ECB says it supports the ICC stance on match-fixing after reports that a future England Test may be targeted.

    A report in the Telegraph on Friday said a forthcoming Al Jazeera documentary will show a groundsman telling undercover reporters that the outcome of England's Test against Sri Lanka in Galle, starting in November, can be influenced.

    It alleges that the pitch can be doctored so that a draw is impossible, meaning anyone involved in such a scheme would back against that outcome. There is no suggestion that any players would be involved.

    Alex Marshall from the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit told the newspaper: "As you would expect, we will take the contents of the programme and any allegations it may make very seriously."

    The ECB supported that, telling the Press Association: "The 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 first Test between Sri Lanka and England in Galle will start on November 6.


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  9. #9
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    This Al Jazeera documentary will be on at 9pm tomorrow.

  10. #10
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    Oh gosh. Really hope this isn't true.

  11. #11
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    Sri Lanka Cricket has said it will give its "fullest cooperation" to any investigation into match-fixing.

    An Al Jazeera documentary is believed to allege groundsmen in Galle are being bribed to alter pitches for Test matches involving teams such as Australia and England.

    The International Cricket Council (ICC) has already launched an investigation.

    The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said it is aware of the documentary and will also support the ICC.

    "Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to state that it has zero tolerance towards corruption and will take immediate action against any person involved in the alleged incident, if found guilty," it said in a statement.

    "Sri Lanka Cricket is constantly engaged with the ICC and is following its guidelines on how to handle anti-corruption operations for the forthcoming tours in Sri Lanka."

    England will play three Tests, five one-day internationals and a one-off Twenty20 match when they tour Sri Lanka in October and November.

    "The ICC is aware of an investigation into corruption in cricket by a news organisation and as you would expect we will take the contents of the programme and any allegations it may make very seriously," the governing body said.

    "We have made repeated requests that all evidence and supporting materials relating to corruption in cricket is released immediately to enable us to undertake a full and comprehensive investigation."

    The ECB said: "The 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."


    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/44264844


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  12. #12
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    SLC to complain to CID on the “Pitch Fixing” incident.



  13. #13
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    Don’t think it’s a big deal. Players weren’t involved, who cares?

    Pitches get treated 100s times a day.

  14. #14
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    Sri Lanka Cricket’s Chief Financial Officer has informed investigators looking into one of the biggest financial scandals in the country that his e-mail had been hacked. Last Friday, Sony Television who own the television rights for the upcoming bilateral series against England, informed SLC about a suspicious move to redirect finances the company owed to SLC to an offshore account.


    The Chief Financial Officer on either the 3rd or 4th September had e-mailed Sony Television asking them to transfer US$ 5.5 million to the offshore account. The correspondence between the Chief Financial Officer and Sony had been on for several weeks until the request to transfer funds in early September and Sony had no reason to doubt the process as the e-mails had been copied to both CEO Ashley de Silva and Chief Operating Officer Jerome Jayaratne.


    However, there was a major glitch. Although De Silva’s e-mail id is ceo@srilankacrikcet.lk, the mail had been copied to a false address ceo@srilankacricket.us The same formula had been used with the e-mail copied of Jayaratne with ‘us’ replacing ‘lk’. No one detected foul play until a telephone call from Sony to CEO of SLC.


    Since the account was not one that was provided by SLC at the moment the contract between the parties was signed, Sony had asked CEO Ashley De Silva as to whether they could go ahead and make the payment.


    De Silva, a former Test cricketer, avoided a major financial fraud when he smelt a rat and called for explanation from the Chief Financial Officer. At that point he was informed by the Chief Financial Officer that his account had been hacked. The CEO ordered an immediate inquiry and with no breakthrough eventually decided to make a complaint to the FCID on Monday.


    SLC’s Finance Department was sealed on Monday as investigators decided to carry out an audit for the last 12 months.


    An insider told The Island that SLC didn’t buy into the story that the e-mail had been hacked. "We find it difficult to believe that one particular e-mail has been hacked. However, this kind of investigation is beyond our means and I am sure the truth will come out the moment FCID finish investigations," a prominent official of SLC told The Island.


    The official also denied that the Chief Financial Officer, who had been sent on compulsory leave, had links with former President of SLC Thilanga Sumathipala having worked for him previously.


    The spotlight, however, will turn on members of SLC’s former Executive Committee who decided not to renew the contract of former Head of Finance Chandramali Korale. Known as an efficient and honest employee, Ms. Korale may have ruffled a few feathers when she didn’t dance to whims and fancies of certain members of the former Executive Committee. They wanted a change and it has been a disastrous one. Among those who endorsed the new recruit were prominent figures including Nuzki Mohammad and Shammi Silva.


    The CEO of the board has come in for immense praise for averting a major financial scandal and the whole episode gives us a reminder that there requires tighter controls in managing the finances of SLC.


    It must be mentioned here that in 2009 the then Sports Minister sold the television rights to a blacklisted company without proper verification and SLC suffered a loss to the tune of US$ 10 million after the company defaulted payments. Successive governments have failed to investigate one of the biggest financial scandals in the country.

    http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_...e_title=191075


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