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Tuesday, 31 July, 2001, 07:06 GMT 08:06 UK
Crowe in the clear
Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe
Crowe co-operated fully with the investigation
Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe has been cleared of any wrong-doing following claims made against him by an Indian bookmaker.

An inquiry into the allegations, made to Indian police by MK Gupta, was conducted by former High Court judge Sir Ian Barker and lawyer Nick Davidson.

Their 60-page report concluded that Crowe was "truthful" and there was no evidence to support Gupta's allegations.

"Martin Crowe is cleared of any wrongful practice. His reputation should stand untarnished," it went on.

England's Alec Stewart and Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva of Sri Lanka were recently cleared following similar investigations.

West Indies batting star Brian Lara and Mark Waugh of Australia are now the only players with matters still hanging over them as a result of Gupta's evidence to the Delhi-based Central Bureau of Investigation.

Scam

Gupta alleged that he paid Crowe $20,000 (14,000) for information about pitch conditions and team selection.

Martin Crowe
Crowe at the crease during the 1992 World Cup

Crowe denied the claims, but admitted that he had been approached during the 1992 World Cup by a man he throught was a journalist.

He said he had been paid a $3,000 (2,000) commission for information he believed was intended for a series of articles, but broke off all contact with the man when he discovered he was a bookmaker.

"It was obviously an organised scam to collect information and once I realised what was going on, I knocked it on the head," Crowe said.

His versions of events was accepted by the in the inquiry team, although the report said he had been "incautious" in accepting any money from a supposed journalist without notifying cricket officials.

In assessing Gupta's reliability as a witness, the report said: "Assessing the motives of a man like Gupta, who has caused so much damage to the international game, is in the inquiry's view a wasted exercise.

"Gupta has, by his own admission, been involved in serious corrupt practice, whatever its classification in Indian law."

Prolific batsman

New Zealand Cricket chairman Sir John Anderson welcomed the report.

He said the "name and shame" approach by the Indian police had offended natural justice.

"The Board accepts the allegations of corruption were without substance and considers the matter now closed," Sir John added.

Crowe is regarded by many as New Zealand's greatest batsman.

He made his Test debut as a 19-year-old in 1982 and went on to score 7,444 runs in 77 matches at an average of 45.36, including 17 centuries.

Crowe also played in 143 one-day internationals before retiring in 1995, when still only 33, following persistent knee problems.

Five players have so far been given life bans as a result of various corruption inquiries around the world.

They are Hansie Cronje of South Africa, Indians Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma and Salim Malik and Ata-ur Rehman of Pakistan.

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