ICC chief promises `vigilance` after Kaneria arrest

Updated: May 16, 2010, 13:02 PM IST

Bridgetown: World cricket`s top administrator has insisted officials are "extremely vigilant" when it comes to `spot-fixing` after Pakistan`s Danish Kaneria was arrested in a betting probe.

But International Cricket Council (ICC) president David Morgan, in an interview with AFP here in Barbados on the eve of the World Twenty20 final between Australia and England, insisted: "I can honestly say to you that I have no knowledge of any spot-fixing that I am refusing to tell you about."

Kaneria and a colleague at English county side Essex, Mervyn Westfield, have been arrested in connection with a police investigation into betting, a club official confirmed Saturday.

Both Test leg-spinner Kaneria, 29, and 22-year-old pace bowler Westfield were questioned on Friday before being released on bail.

It is understood the match under scrutiny was a 40-over win against Durham last September. The investigation centres on the practice of `spot-fixing` whereby money is placed on individual details in a match.

"I`ve been aware of the potential problem at Essex for a little while," Morgan told AFP at his Barbados hotel here on Saturday, ahead of Sunday`s showpiece match at the Kensington Oval.

"And I was made aware by Mr (Haroon) Lorgat (the ICC chief executive) yesterday (Friday) that those two cricketers had been seen by the Essex police," Morgan added.

"There is a police inquiry and therefore there is absolutely nothing I could or would wish to say (about Kaneria and Westfield`s arrest)," insisted Morgan, a former chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

In its recent past, cricket has had to deal with several match-fixing scandals, most notoriously including betting scams involving the late former South Africa captain Hansie Cronje.

But in an era of spread betting, the issue of spot-fixing, where events such as the number of wides in an over can be gambled on, is potentially even a bigger problem for cricket as results do not have to be "fixed" for an underhand betting coup to take place.

Turning to the issue of spot-fixing in general, Morgan said: "Cricket is full of discreet events - overs of six balls, powerplays, in first-class cricket the morning, the afternoon and the evening (sessions).”

"There are lots of these discreet events that attract people who gamble."