Thatscricket - Wish your star
Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Melbourne: The Australian Cricket Board met Tuesday with their lawyers to discuss Mark Waugh's refusal to be questioned by anti-corruption investigators.ACB chief Malcolm Speed said the Board would also be seeking clarification whether it could force the 108-Test batsman to give evidence to an investigative unit."We have the power under the contract that compels Mark to follow reasonable directions from the ACB," Speed said on Tuesday.Waugh's international career is again under threat after, on legal advice, he refused on Monday to be interviewed by ACB anti-corruption investigator Greg Melick.The International Cricket Council (ICC) is investigating allegations that Waugh accepted more money than was previously disclosed from illegal Indian bookmaker M K Gupta in return for Australian team information.Melick and the ICC unit, headed by chief investigator Sir Paul Condon, wanted to speak to Waugh here next month after an Indian police report alleged he had taken $ 20,000 from Gupta."We're not quite sure why he's unwilling to submit to this interview at this stage so I think there needs to be some dialogue there and over the next couple of days we'll try and sort it out," Speed said on radio here on Tuesday.Asked whether Waugh would be stood down for the rest of the season, Speed said it would be a matter for the ACB board of directors to consider."There are unsubstantiated allegations that have been made against Mark Waugh and until there's something further than that, the ACB doesn't see it as appropriate to take further action."Whether his refusal to answer questions changes that position - that's an issue we'll have to resolve over the next few days."Commentators said Waugh, who denied the allegations at a press conference but has not made an official statement to the ACB, appeared to be testing the will of the ACB which will want the matter resolved before the Australian team leaves for their tour of India in mid-February.The ICC have made it clear that the next step will have to come from the ACB and the Board would have to determine what action it would take."To some extent we are caught in the middle here in that the allegation is made and the ICC wants an investigation," Speed said."He's one of our players and it's important that we have a good relationship with Mark and with all the players, but it is also important that the public can see that we are dealing with it effectively."The only public forum in which Waugh has addressed the latest allegations was in an impromptu media conference on Queensland's Sunshine Coast last year.He said then he had already participated in the two inquiries conducted in Australia and Pakistan.In 1998, it was revealed that Waugh and Test teammate Shane Warne admitted taking money from a bookmaker called "John" in return for pitch and weather information in 1994.Meanwhile, an ICC spokesman also said that while no assumption of guilt on Waugh's part could be made, it was hard to deny that his back-flip on being interviewed would create a cloud of suspicion in the minds of the cricketing public."It's disappointing news that any player is refusing to cooperate," an ICC spokesman said in a telephone interview. "As far as we are aware he has nothing to hide, but it doesn't do him any favours taking this decision," the spokesman said.