London: The International Cricket Council is all set to launch an inquiry into a report in the 'Sunday Times', which claimed that the Indian bookmakers are fixing the results of England county games and international fixtures.
The newspaper's investigation has suggested that the bookmakers offer thousands of pounds to the players. About 44,000 pounds to batsmen for slow scoring, 50,000 pounds for bowlers who concede runs and 750,000 pounds for a player or official who can guarantee a match outcome.
It also revealed that corruption tainted last year's World Cup semifinal between India and Pakistan.
The fixers claimed to have recruited players from countries, including England using a Bollywood actress as a honey trap.
A Delhi bookmaker has told the newspaper that county cricket "is a good market" as it involves "low-profile matches and nobody monitors them. That's why good money can be made there without any hassle."
The paper has passed on all the informations it gathered from its investigation to the ICC, who said it would investigate into these "serious allegations".
"We are grateful for the information you have provided and will launch an inquiry into these serious allegations.
"Betting on cricket in the legal and illegal markets continues to grow rapidly and, with many, many millions of dollars being bet on every match, the threat of corrupters seeking to influence the game has not gone away," an ICC spokesperson said.
Just a few weeks ago former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield became the first English cricketer to be jailed for corruption after he admitted taking money to fix a match against Durham in September 2009.
Last year, three Pakistan players -- Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer -- were also jailed in Britain for 'spot-fixing' in a 2010 Test match against England.
According to the report, undercover reporters working for The Sunday Times captured Vicky Seth, an influential Delhi bookmaker, boasting that he could fix big international events such as Test matches, Twenty20s, and games in both the Indian Premier League and Bangladesh Premier League.
He also said that English county cricket is a good new market.
"They are low-profile matches and nobody monitors them. That's why good money can be made there without any hassle if we can get the players to play for us."
Another bookie, known as Monubhai, claimed he had worked with players from most of the main cricketing nations to fix games, and had recently been offered a chance to sign up New Zealanders.
"I was invited to strike a deal with some New Zealanders but I didn't go. The IPL starts on April 4, then everyone will be doing it," he said.