Ex-NZ players in match-fixing probe

NZ Cricket boss David White speaking to reporters this morning. Photo / Getty Images
NZ Cricket boss David White speaking to reporters this morning. Photo / Getty Images
New Zealand Cricket boss David White knows the identity of the former players under investigation by the sport's anti corruption unit.

However he cannot name the three players understood to be at the centre of the claims due to the ongoing nature of the International Cricket Council investigation.

White, speaking at a hastily-arranged press conference before the third day's play in the opening test between New Zealand and the West Indies, said NZC are ''shocked and surprised" by the allegations, which first surfaced in today's New Zealand Herald relating to match fixing activities in a number of countries.

NZC had been aware the ICC had been investigating the activities of a ''small number" of former New Zealand cricketers for several months.

White spelled out key points from NZC's perspective.

''Firstly no current New Zealand players are being investigated; no games played in New Zealand are being investigated; and lastly no matches under NZC's jurisdiction are being investigated," he said.

The ICC's anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU) has been in New Zealand for several months undertaking its investigations.

White said NZC has had meetings with the ACSU. Rather than NZC providing information to the unit ''they've been updating us more than anything".

White did not know how long the investigation would last.

Asked how it would reflect on the World Cup, to be co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia in February 2015, White said: ''Corruption has no place in our sport and we're supporting the ICC.

"The probe relates to historic games featuring international stars. It is believed none of the players under investigation is still playing professionally.

The usual ways of manipulating cricket matches are to concede runs through deliberate poor bowling or to score slowly while batting.

Normal practice in these circumstances is for a young or vulnerable player to be "groomed" by a senior player with links to bookmakers, whose clients stand to gain millions of dollars.

Players involved could face bans from cricket ranging from a few years to life, depending on the level of co-operation with the ICC.

As laws covering match- and spot-fixing vary from country to country, it is not known whether any criminal charges could follow.

The ICC's anti-corruption and security unit's Australasian head, John Rhodes, is involved in the inquiry.

The Herald approached the ICC last night to confirm the investigation, but a representative said: "The ICC does not comment on any anti-corruption or ACSU activities taking place.

"When the official was asked if they could specifically deny an investigation involving New Zealand players was taking place, the "we don't comment at all" line was repeated.

The investigation findings are expected to provide sobering evidence that New Zealanders are likely to have been involved in the upper reaches of cheating.

The revelations will be a concern for New Zealand Cricket, and a potential hammer blow as the country prepares to co-host the 2015 World Cup with Australia.

Although the investigation has concentrated on cricket at a domestic or franchise level, there is little way of knowing - without the ICC revealing all its findings - how far some of the tentacles have extended into the international sphere.

Last year, in a London Sunday Times report, one of Delhi's most influential bookmakers, Vicky Seth, told an undercover reporter match-fixing was rife and "will always carry on" because of the millions of dollars which changed hands after matches.