England’s Indian-origin cricketer Ravi Bopara was investigated by the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit after an inquiry into this year’s Bangladesh Premier League.
The England and Essex batsman was almost suspended for an alleged failure to supply various documents in time, ‘The Times’ newspaper reported here on Saturday.
Bopara, who has played 94 One-day internationals and 13 Tests, was cleared of any wrongdoing but had been asked to supply bank and phone statements, and was interviewed for two hours.
The batsman, who is playing for six weeks for Prime Bank in the Dhaka Premier Division - a 50-over league, was a member of the Chittagong Kings franchise in the BPL, which ran for a month from January 18.
The 28-year-old was asked by the ACSU on February 15 to hand over his bank statements for the previous 12 months, three years of phone records and his mobile phones.
According to the ‘Times’, he was unable to comply until before the start of the Champions Trophy in June because he was abroad, first in Bangladesh, then in South Africa, where he appeared for the Dolphins in their Twenty20 competition.
He was within seven days of being suspended by the ICC because all players sign a code of conduct that allows access to such information.
“The delay was caused because he couldn’t access hard copies of the information as he was travelling the world doing his job,” Bopara’s lawyer Yasin Patel told the newspaper.
“Then, when he was back in England...he endured a two-hour interview with ACSU and ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) representatives which finished at around two in the morning. He had no legal representation and it was more like an interrogation. There are no safeguards or protections for the players whatsoever. They are conducting police-like interviews, and that is neither moral nor correct,” he added.
England team director Andy Flower was aware of the inquiry, which indicates that match-fixing inquiries are no longer restricted just to the Indian sub-continent and attempts to clean up the game have taken on a larger global scale.