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Mark Waugh: ACB chief justifies delay

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2000, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Brisbane: Australian Cricket Board chief executive Malcolm Speed has defended the Board's handling of Mark Waugh, after he was named in an Indian match fixing report.Waugh was named in an Indian probe report into match-fixing, with Indian bookmaker Mukesh Gupta saying Waugh supplied match information for cash in 1993.The ACB has been criticised in the local media for not responding quickly to the claims by interviewing Waugh. But Speed said the Board wants Gupta's allegations thoroughly checked before launching its own probe against the senior Test batsman and twin brother of team captain Steve Waugh.The International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit was probing the matter while ACB investigator Greg Melick has said he would not interview Waugh until the initial inquiries have been complete.ICC anti-corruption boss Sir Paul Condon's five-man investigation team will be joined by Melick in London on December 4 and a decision could then be made on whether Waugh would face charges of consorting with an illegal bookmaker.Speed said the full process of the investigation had to be complete, it had to be done properly and be seen to be done properly. He said he was hopeful an international investigation would clear Waugh, adding calls for him to stand down from the team were premature.Australia begin a five Test series against the West Indies here on Thursday. "It's premature for calls for Mark Waugh to be stood down at this stage," Speed said Wednesday. Speed said he had spoken to Waugh about the allegations but would not reveal what was said."If Mark Waugh is innocent, and I certainly hope he is and there's no reason to doubt otherwise, then it's very important that we investigate it fully and his name is cleared once and for all of this allegation," Speed said."What we have at the moment is an allegation made by a bookmaker in India, bookmaking in India is illegal, and we don't know if there is any substance to what this man says. We do not know if he is credible. The allegation has not been investigated and that's the process we're going through now."Speed is mindful that the ACB was widely criticised about its handling of the scandal five years ago when Waugh and Test leg-spinner Shane Warne admitted taking money from a bookmaker - known as John - in return for providing pitch and weather information.The ACB fined the pair in early 1995 but covered up the affair until it was disclosed by the media in late 1998. The current probe will have to determine whether the latest allegations differ from those in which Warne and Waugh were implicated. Waugh has confessed to taking $ 4,000 from "John" in Sri Lanka in 1994 but has denied allegations from Gupta - also known by the alias John - that he received $ 20,000 in 1993.And it was not known if Gupta and John were in fact the same person and whether the latest allegation was a variation of the incident to which has Waugh previously confessed.AFP

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