MCC: Undercover stings could help fight fixing

Cape Town: The ICC should consider using undercover investigations to identify corrupt cricketers as one of 10 recommendations to fight match-fixing made by the MCC`s cricket committee.

The MCC committee, made up of former international players and umpires, said the "mystery shopper operations" would be "preferably directed at somebody already suspected."

Following a two-day meeting in South Africa, the recommendation was one of the proposals made by the prestigious Marylebone Cricket Club committee to the ICC`s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit.

The committee also said there needed to be "uniformity" with the use of the Decision Review System and that members were "unanimously disappointed" that the World Test Championship had been postponed until 2017.

An undercover sting by now-defunct British newspaper The News of the World was chiefly responsible for revealing spot-fixing by Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir in a test in England in 2010.

The committee`s Anti-Corruption Working Party, led by former Australia skipper Steve Waugh, also called for lifetime bans for any captain, vice captain or coach found guilty of corruption and said the world cricket body should think about removing minimum sentences in its anti-corruption code.

Based at Lord`s, the MCC is the former governing body of English and world cricket and is now viewed as the traditional guardian of the game.

The MCC`s world cricket committee is chaired by former England captain Mike Brearley, while Waugh, Mike Atherton, Mike Gatting, Geoffrey Boycott and England team director Andy Flower are all members.

The MCC also said there needed to be a rethink of the current rules controlling the use of the DRS. According to ICC regulations, the DRS must be accepted by both teams for it to be used in a series.

India, as is traditional, did not allow it to be used in its ongoing test series in Australia, while South Africa and Sri Lanka players had access to the full technology for decision reviews in their recent three-match series.

"The committee has urged the ICC to ensure uniformity on the implementation of the Decision Review System," the MCC said. "It is wrong that there are such different playing conditions -- that the DRS is not used when India play."

Reacting to the delay in the test championship, the MCC is disappointed it could not be staged before 2017. "A World Test Championship would, crucially, provide additional context for test cricket," the MCC said.

"The committee is and continues to be convinced that Test cricket is the pinnacle of the sport, and that it needs to be encouraged and marketed in every way possible."

Bureau Report