Cricket Australia (CA) has hit back at allegations Australian players are involved in match-fixing, saying the claims made by a sports agent were “baseless and outlandish”.
Sports agent Mazhar Majeed, accused of taking bribes to fix matches, had said Australian cricketers were “the biggest” culprits of fixing and they fixed “brackets”, a set period of a match on which punters bet, a London court heard on Monday.
In response, CA chief executive James Sutherland told reporters that the allegations appeared to be “outlandish”.
“The sweeping statements unfairly malign Australian cricketers,” Sutherland said on Tuesday. “We haven't been able to speak to the International Cricket Council overnight... but we will definitely make contact with them very quickly.”
Sutherland said the world governing body of the sport had a very sophisticated anti-corruption unit and he would have been tipped off by the ICC if an Australian cricketer was on the radar. Agent Majeed, 36, told an undercover journalist that match-fixing had been going on “for centuries” and named celebrated former Pakistan fast-bowlers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis as alleged participants, the court heard.
The CA chief said it would work with the ICC to investigate a player if any credible evidence was uncovered.
Sutherland said he would get in touch with the ICC to take stock of the match-fixing investigations.
“In my dealings with the ICC I'm very confident I would know and understand if there were concerns about Australian players, allegations about players or investigations afoot in regards to Australian players. I have heard none of that.”
Majeed, in fact, has also dropped names of Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt and tennis ace Roger Federer, claiming that he knows them “very well“.
Meanwhile, Ricky Ponting's manager has dismissed Majeed's claims of having access to the former Australian captain, while pacer Nathan Bracken has threatened legal action after his name also cropped up in the spot-fixing trial in London.
Majeed's claims have led to angry reactions from Australian players with Bracken's manager, Rob Horton saying, “What a load of garbage, we have never heard of this guy. We have never met him.
“Nathan would never ever be involved in anything like that at all. He's thinking of taking legal action in London to protect his reputation,” Horton told The Daily Telegraph.
Ponting's manager, James Henderson, also dismissed Majeed's claim. “We have never heard of him,” Henderson said.
In Karachi, the PCB seems to be concerned with the ongoing trial in London of the three banned Pakistani players — Salman Butt, Mohd. Asif and Mohd. Amir — and their London-based agent Mazhar Majeed as a murkier picture emerges about the involvement of more Pakistan players in the fixing racket.
After the testimony given by Mazhar Mehmood to the court and jury yesterday, it emerged that other Pakistan players were also allegedly involved in the fixing rackets as mentioned by Majeed in his conversations with the reporter that were secretly taped as part of sting operation.
In his testimony and in the audio recordings heard by the judge and the jury, Majeed also claimed to have met with PCB chairman Ijaz Butt in connection with the proposed Pakistan Premier League.
A legal expert in Lahore said that as things stand, the court could well issue summons to the players whose names have been taken by Majeed to appear in court and give testimony.
On Monday it emerged that Majeed, in one of his conversations, had also taken the names of former greats like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Ejaz Ahmed, Moin Khan, alleging that they were also at sometime involved in the fixing racket..