Bookies approached 56 players in 2010: Waugh

LONDON: Former Australian captain Steve Waugh, who is a leading a drive to weed out corruption from cricket, has revealed the 56 international cricketers were approached by bookies in 2010.

Waugh, who suggested the idea of introducing lie-detector tests to combat the problem, said he was pleased to see players reporting suspicious behaviour to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Anti-Corruption Unit. Five cases were reported by players to the ICC in 2009.

Waugh said any captain found guilty of match-fixing should be banned for life.

“Any captain found guilty should have a lifetime ban because they set the tone and values of the side. If they are doing something wrong it’s a lot easier for the younger kids to get involved in it,” the 46-year-old was quoted as saying by BBC Sports.

“I don’t know if the ICC is doing enough. I’d like to have some conversations with them. They are doing some good work because last year 56 players reported an approach by a bookmaker and the year before it was only five, so that suggests the players have confidence in the system and confidence that it will work,” he said.

Corruption in cricket hit the headlines last year after three Pakistani players, former Test captain Salman Butt and pacers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were found involved in spot-fixing during fourth Test between Pakistan and England at Lord’s in August 2010.

In February, an ICC tribunal found the trio guilty of corruption and banned them. The trio, along with a fourth man, Mazhar Majeed, are due to face trial at Southwark Crown Court in October. They have been accused of cheating and conspiracy to obtain and accept shady payments.

Waugh feels the scandal has damaged the sport’s reputation and was confident that a lie-detector scheme could help restore confidence.

“We can’t be naïve and close our eyes to this, of course it’s going on, it’s going on in all sports. You hope only to a small degree. I’m sure it’s more spot-fixing than other stuff these days, but it’s still not right,” he said.

“By taking the lie detector test I wanted to get the message out there that I was prepared to do this and I saw that (England captain) Andrew Strauss said he was prepared to do one if required too. It’s totally voluntary and it’s not about going over the past, it’s about moving forward,” he said.

Waugh’s twin brother Mark was found guilty, along with Shane Warne, of passing information to bookmakers in 1994-95. The duo were secretly fined by the Australian cricket board.

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