Australia, England reject Al Jazeera's cricket fixing allegations as ICC launches probe

26 spot-fixes in 15 international matches during 2011-12, claims Al Jazeera's documentary - Cricbuzz

Titled "Cricket's Match Fixers: The Munawar Files", the documentary claims fixed passages of play in seven matches by England players, five matches by Australia players, three matches by Pakistan players, and in one match by players from another country.

Al Jazeera said it had uncovered evidence of corruption in 15 worldwide cricket matches between 2010 and 2012, including "a small group" of England players in seven matches and Pakistan players in three matches.

In this second documentary, which focuses on Munawar's involvement in fixing-related activities, he is identified by several people as being an important member who looks after the betting syndicate of the "D-Company".

"Congratulations for the Ashes", Munawar is heard saying. The last payment is ready for going in the account.

It could be the biggest name in world cricket, English cricket, any cricket - don't just sit there and say "It can't be him". The alleged player, whose voice was distorted in the documentary for legal reasons, responds: "Lovely". A source said the player is now considering his options with legal advisors.

The spot-fixes relate to "brackets" of overs - either 10, eight or six, depending on the format - in which batsmen collude with bookmakers to ensure the team total finishes the bracket either below the spread of runs offered to innocent punters, or over it.

Cricket Australia released a statement on Monday saying they had full confidence in their players, while the players' association said its members were "sick and exhausted of being subject to accusations, without proper evidence".

Nasser Hussain says the spot-fixing allegations levelled at players in an Al Jazeera documentary must be taken "seriously" by the ICC and cricket boards around the world. "Clearly there's a potential conflict of interest between an organisation that sets out to promote and make money, and a small part of that organisation which purports to tackle corruption", said David Harrison, reporter of the Al Jazeera Investigations wing which conducted the sting operation.

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It alleges that spot-fixing occurred - not necessarily by England players - in matches including their World Cup game against South Africa and the Lord's Test against India in 2011; and three Tests against Pakistan in the UAE and a World T20 match against Afghanistan in 2012.

"However, I must refute the assertion that cricket does not take the issue of corruption seriously, we have more resources than ever before working to rid our sport of corruption".

"Whilst the limited information we have been given by Al Jazeera is poorly prepared and lacks clarity and corroboration it has been properly assessed. Numerous matches appear to include multiple fixes, making a total of 26 fixes in the 15 matches", said the report.

"Analysis of this by the ECB Integrity Team has cast no doubt on the integrity or behaviour of any England player, current or former".

"The ECB takes its responsibilities on anti-corruption and preserving the integrity of cricket very seriously", the statement added.

"We have full confidence in our players in also protecting the game, and we are working closely with the ACA to keep them informed of any developments".

Unnamed Australian cricketers have been implicated in new spot-fixing claims by Al Jazeera. The scope to manipulate a game of cricket for betting purposes has been with us for two centuries or more and any reminder of that is a useful deterrent.

It added: "As you would expect we will again take the contents of the programme and any allegations it may make seriously and will investigate fully".

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