Bookie scare: Captains asked to stay away from strangers

Published: Sunday, February 9, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Cape Town: World Cup captains have been told to stay away from unknown people who try to be very friendly since they could be bookmakers, sources said on Sunday. The pre-tournament briefing for all the 14 captains and team managers organised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Saturday featured a presentation by a member of the ICC's anti-corruption unit (ACU). The captains were told of possible forms of an approach by potential bookies and were shown video footage compiled by the ACU which appeared to have detailed the modus operandi of known bookmakers.

The footage, apparently, has been shown to teams before in the past year, the sources added. The ACU was formed in June, 2000, following the match-fixing scandal which led to life bans being imposed on three Test captains, the late Hansie Cronje of South Africa, Mohammed Azharuddin of India and Salim Mallik of Pakistan. ACU members have spread around all the World Cup venues in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya to supervise security arrangements for players.

The captains' meeting was also told about the random drug tests to be conducted on players for the first time at a cricket World Cup. Most teams conducted precautionary drug tests on their players before departing for South Africa with reports indicating that no one failed the test. Some cricketers, meanwhile, were furious at the arrangements for Saturday's opening ceremony where they were huddled in a hall for two hours without food before the march-past at Newlands.

"We wanted to watch the ceremony from the stands, but we were told there was no place," a player said on condition of anonymity. "If we had to watch it on television, we could have done it from our hotel rooms. "We were starved by the time we got back to the hotel around 11 pm. The whole thing was a waste of time." The first match of the World Cup will be played later on Sunday when hosts South Africa take on the West Indies under the Newlands floodlights here.

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