Famous NZ cricket win included in match-fixing claims

Aerial of Bellerive Oval cricket, Bellerive and River Derwent. Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, Australasia. Photo: Getty Images
New Zealand's drought-breaking win over Australia took place at Bellerive Oval in Hobart. Photo: Getty Images

A famous New Zealand cricket victory has become implicated in the match-fixing allegations made by a leading media organisation.

Al Jazeera has published a second series of allegations and the 15 matches it says are under suspicion include New Zealand's 2011 victory over Australia in Hobart. The matches include six Tests, six One Day Internationals and three T20 World Cup games.

But cricket bosses are reporting frustrations in getting verification from Al Jazeera, and Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland has released a statement saying the claims are "unsubstantiated and incorrect", according to news.com.

"Cricket Australia takes a zero-tolerance approach against anyone trying to compromise the integrity of the game, and to suggest anything otherwise is unsubstantiated and incorrect," Sutherland said in the report.

"Prior to the broadcast of Al Jazeera's documentary, Cricket Australia's Integrity Unit conducted a review of the latest claims by Al Jazeera, from a known criminal source, and, from the limited information provided by Al Jazeera, our team have not identified any issues of corruption by any current or former player, including in relation to Big Bash League matches.

"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."

Sutherland again publicly called for Al Jazeera to turn over any evidence of spot fixing to the ICC anti-corruption unit.

The report, which also accuses at least one unidentified England player of corruption, claims there were 26 spot-fixing attempts across the 15 matches. 25 of the spot-fixing attempts were successfully executed, the report claims.

The 15 matches in question are:
1. Australia v England, ODI, January 21st, 2011.
2. Australia v Zimbabwe, ODI World Cup, February 21st 2011.
3. England v Netherlands, ODI World Cup, February 22nd, 2011.
4. Australia v Kenya, ODI World Cup, March 3rd, 2011.
5. England v South Africa, ODI World Cup, June 3rd 2011.
6. England v Bangladesh, ODI World Cup, March 3rd, 2011.
7. England v India, Test, July 21st-25th, 2011.
8. South Africa v Australia, Test, November 9th-11th, 2011.
9. Australia v New Zealand, Test, December 9th-12th, 2011.
10. England v Pakistan, Test, January 17th-19th, 2012.
11. England v Pakistan, Test, January 25th-28th, 2012.
12. England v Pakistan, Test, February 3rd-6th, 2012.
13. Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe, T20I World Cup, September 18th, 2012.
14. England v Afghanistan, T20I World Cup, September 21st, 2009.
15. South Africa v Pakistan, T20I World Cup, September 28th, 2012.

The Al Jazeera report claims there were some matches where players on both teams attempted to fix periods of play.

The spot-fixing plots reportedly surrounded fixing periods of matches to allow bookmakers to know the number of runs scored in periods ranging from six overs to ten overs.

It is the second time Australia has been identified in Al Jazeera's investigation into cricket match fixing.

The second documentary released on Monday morning identifies three Australian ODI matches and two test matches as matches to have been marred by spot-fixing.

The Al Jazeera report also centres around high-profile England matches, including the 2011 Lord's Test between England and India.

The recordings aired by Al Jazeera also claim to show a conversation between an alleged match-fixer and an English cricketer where payments are discussed.

"Congratulations for the Ashes. The last payment is ready for going in the account. You will be credited in a week," the English cricketer is told during the documentary.

ICC anti-corruption unit boss Alex Marshall responded to the documentary's allegations on Monday by re-stating that the spot-fixing allegations made in the second documentary were already under investigation.

"The ICC is committed to working to uphold integrity in cricket. As you would expect we will again take the contents of the program and any allegations it may make seriously and will investigate fully," Marshall said.

"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."

Australian Cricketer's Association chief executive Alistair Nicholson said Aussie cricketers are "sick and tired" of the "unsubstantiated" claims being made public.

"As I said two months ago, enough is enough when it comes to unsupported accusations which unfairly tarnish players reputations," Nicholson said.

"The players are sick and tired of being subject to accusations, without the proper evidence to substantiate it."

The England and Wales Cricket Board also released a statement in the wake of the documentary's release.

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

"Whilst the limited information we have been given by Al Jazeera is poorly prepared and lacks clarity and corroboration it has been properly assessed. "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 materials we have been given have been referred to the ICC's anti- corruption unit and we will continue to work with them, as is the correct procedure for protecting the game.

"We are also working closely with the PCA (Professional Cricketers' Association) and keeping them informed."

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