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Wednesday, 12 April, 2000, 08:26 GMT 09:26 UK
A gentleman's game?
Australia's Shane Warne admitted accepting money
BBC News Online's Thrasy Petropoulos takes a closer look at the controversies threatening to undermine cricket as a global sport.

Whether or not the match-fixing allegations levelled at Hansie Cronje are true, the former South African captain's admission that he was hounded by bookmakers is symptomatic of the modern game.

Cronje is merely the latest Test player to become embroiled in cricket's shady underworld. It is doubtful he will be the last.

In 1995, Shane Warne and Mark Waugh were both guilty of supplying information on weather and pitch conditions to Indian bookmakers, though the Australian Cricket Board and International Cricket Council attempted to cover up the story.

While it is possible innocent people are being implicated, there is certainly enough smoke to suggest a forest fire.

Wasim Akram was cleared of match-fixing
Wasim Akram was reinstated as Pakistan captain last year when an inquiry into bribery and match-fixing in the Pakistan High Court that had initially recommended a heavy fine cleared his name.

Salim Malik and Ijaz Ahmed were also brought before Judge Qayyum in Lahore but only Warne, Waugh and now Cronje have so far confessed to accepting money.

Numerous other Pakistanis have been named. They in turn seem to have been implicated by the implicated. The confusion is limitless.

Then there was the report last summer that Chris Lewis had been the subject of a clumsy approach by a man identified as Mr Patel offering 300,000 to himself, Alec Stewart and Alan Mullally to sabotage an England Test match against New Zealand.

Lewis took the information to the police.

Such is the proliferation of one-day tournaments around the world, many of them triangular events involving insignificant early matches, the scope for match-fixing and manipulation is extensive.

The annual jamboree in Sharjah has long been suspected of being heavily influenced by bookmakers.

Ironically, if it wasn't for gambling, cricket as we know it would not exist.

England's Chris Lewis was approached
Huge sums of money changed hands in the late 18th and 19th centuries at cricket matches, taking the game away from its working class roots and into the domain of the landed gentry, where it flourished.

By its very nature cricket lends itself to gambling, whether it be waging money on the runs and wickets of individuals, or on team scores and results.

Although mobile phone-toting middle-men representing betting syndicates are usually involved in the process, Australia captain Mark Taylor, Warne and Waugh told the High Court in Pakistan that Malik had approached them in person offering money to "bowl badly" in the first Test in 1994.

Waugh gave evidence that Malik had also approached him at a presidential dinner before a one-day international in Rawalpindi in 1984, asking him if he could find four or five Australian players willing to help throw the game - to bat slowly and bowl some full tosses and long hops.

Nothing came of the allegations.

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See also:

11 Apr 00 | Cricket
South Africa's fallen hero
11 Apr 00 | Cricket
Cricket under scrutiny
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