Johannesburg: Speculation is mounting here that a corruption probe initiated by Cricket South Africa (CSA) may be related to the current RamSlam T20 tournament, which is the only domestic series televised internationally.
CSA and the South African Cricket Players' Association (SACA) today cautioned all its players to be on their guard about possible approaches from match-fixers, but neither body would comment on details of the investigation or which series it related to.
Commentators here, however, pointed out that the T20 tournament is being broadcast in the Asian subcontinent, where the format is very popular with betting syndicates.
It is believed that the Proteas players currently in the middle of a lengthy tour of India were also given the advisory, with views that CSA does not want to be at the forefront of another cricket corruption scandal after then captain Hansie Cronje was slapped with a lifetime ban for confessing to match-fixing in India in 2000.
Cronje, who later died under mysterious circumstances in a plane crash, precipitated the worst crisis in international cricketing history, with his teammates Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams both banned for six months for their involvement in the match-fixing as well.
Both CSA and SACA remained tight-lipped about the investigation, saying only that they were concerned about "attempts by an international syndicate which is attempting to corrupt domestic cricket in South Africa".
CSA said in a statement on Friday that the investigation was being undertaken by its own anti-corruption and security unit with assistance from the International Cricket Council.
The South African Police Services would also be drawn in if criminal charges are called for.
After the Cronje debacle, both CSA and SACA introduced firm measures to avoid a recurrence.
These include an obligation for players to immediately report any approaches made to them by potential match-fixers.
SACA also conducts workshops with players before the start of each season to highlight their obligations and risks related to such approaches.