Probe first ball wide along with no-balls: Betting expert

London: A senior betting industry expert has asked ICC`s Anti-Corruption Unit to add the first ball wide that cost five runs from Pakistan pacer Mohammed Amir to the no-balls, under investigation from the tainted Lord`s Test.

The Scotland Yard and the ICC is running a parallel probe on suspended Pakistan trio -- Test captain Salman Butt and pacers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif -- for bowling deliberate no-balls bowls during the Lord Test.

And Davies, who is also an adviser to the Anti-Corruption Unit, feels ICC should also investigate the opening delivery of the match by Amir, a wide that cost five runs.

"The knowledge that five runs will be scored from the first ball could be used in several spot-betting and spread betting markets, the kind of books that the ICC ACU know are made in the illegal betting markets in India and other parts of Asia," Davies was quoted as saying.

"Most obviously it could be used to make money on the spread for the number of deliveries before the first wide is bowled, then any spread on the number of runs from the first ball, the number of runs in the first over and also to take a position on the number of runs scored during the first three or first 15 overs.”

"In theory, there could even be spreads on the number of deliveries before the first `five` is scored. Anyone armed with certain information that the first ball would be a wide and produce five runs could make a lot of money on all those spreads," said Davies, whose involvement with the ICC began soon after the setting up of the Anti-Corruption Unit.

18-year-old left-arm pacer Amir had bowled the delivery from over the wicket from the Pavilion End to England captain Andrew Strauss, which landed a foot outside leg stump, missing the stumps by at least a yard on its way to the boundary.

A wide delivery first up is understood as open to manipulation for spread betting and spot-fixing, although it is not unusual as bowlers at times need to adjust to the slope at Lord`s.

However, Davies didn`t buy the idea that it is difficult to adjust to Lords pitch.

"As for the delivery itself, everyone knows your opening ball is a little bit of a loosener, but I don`t buy the explanation given by the commentators that it is hard to adjust to the conditions at Lord`s," said Davies, who runs betting analysts Camberton UK.

"It is extraordinary that any top class bowler would ever bowl a ball like that, full stop. If I was advising the Anti-Corruption Unit on their investigations, I`d be reviewing everything from ball one," he said.



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