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|ICC to deploy secret agents to check bookies|
Thursday, February 12 2004 15:45 Hrs (IST)
"The ICC has informed that in addition to the retired Pakistani Army Colonel Qaza Noor, a security official each from India and Australia would keep a close watch during the series," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman Sami-ul Hasan said over phone from Karachi on Thursday.
Col Noor represents ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) in Pakistan and Bangladesh while N S Virk is India's representative.
Deployment of three officials for one series indicates ICC's renewed fears that match-fixing might still be affecting the game. The ACU had written to the PCB in recent months that some Pakistan players might have underperformed in a couple of One-day tournaments in 2002.
Meanwhile, news daily 'The Nation' quoted PCB sources as saying although the ICC and Boards of both countries had taken adequate steps to check illegal betting, a complete ban was not practical.
The report said bookmakers had extended their network from Asia to Europe, Africa and USA.
"The much-awaited series will be the prime event for bookies to earn millions of dollars as they have formatted a strong international network ahead of Indo-Pak series," the sources said.
The two neighbours are resuming bilateral cricket ties after a 14-year hiatus and cricket fans across the world are eagerly awaiting the series.
"Despite a number of steps taken by ICC no one can remove match-fixing totally and still many bookies are involved in the million-dollar game," the sources were quoted as saying.
They said a few former Dubai-based Indian, Pakistani and African cricketers were working as the international link for the network.
"These cricketers also help in communicating rates of teams and players and informing the bookmakers about the form, fitness and abilities of players."
Clear picture of Pak tour to emerge next week