ICC mulls proposal to use undercover agents as bookies

Melbourne: In light of the recent spot fixing scandal involving Pakistani cricketers, the ICC is considering a proposal where undercover agents posing as illegal bookmakers will approach cricketers to see if they report any suspicious encounters.

Players who do not report the approaches would be penalised under the anti-corruption code, with sanctions ranging from warnings to fines and suspensions, the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ reported.

Although in the initial stage, if ICC accepts the proposal then it would be for the first time that in any sports undercover agents would be used.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat is considering the viability of the proposal.

“We are thinking of setting up our own approaches to players, to see if they report it, we will think out of the box,” Lorgat told the paper.

“It is only a tentative plan at this stage, we are working on a number of measures to combat corruption. We are not sitting on our hands. We are being as proactive as we can in ensuring the integrity of the game is maintained,” Lorgat said.

If the plan is approved at the ICC’s next meeting, players could be approached by undercover operatives during the Ashes and next year’s World Cup.

Australian players Shane Watson, Brad Haddin, Brett Lee and David Warner had reported approaches from suspicious characters in the past 18 months.

Watson and Haddin were approached by the same man - identified later as having links to illegal Indian bookmakers – during last year’s tour of England for the Ashes and World Twenty20.

Pakistan’s suspended trio of Test skipper Salman Butt, and pacemen Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir face serious penalties if the ICC proves they were guilty of spot-fixing during the series against England.

The trio have appealed against their suspensions and will front separate hearings later this month in Qatar.