News broadcaster Al Jazeera has reportedly uncovered fresh allegations of spot-fixing and widespread corruption in the highest levels of international cricket. In a documentaty titled ‘The Munawar Files’, a follow up to a previous documentary that the broadcaster had released in May 2018, it is alleged that Aneel Munawar, a match fixer who is claimed to be connected to the crime syndicate D-Company, arranged spot fixes in 15 international matches across formats.
The International Cricket Council, in response, has said that the contents of the programme will be “investigated fully” and asked the broadcaster for “co-operation.”
“As with the first programme we have, and will continue to ask for the cooperation of the broadcaster. We have made repeated efforts to engage with the broadcaster as it can play such a crucial part in the full and thorough investigation it has called for,” ICC Anti-Coruption Unit General Manager Alex Marshall said in the statement.
Al Jazeera, in the series, claims that between 2011 and 2012, “a small group of England players” allegedly carried out “spot-fixes in seven matches; Australia players in five matches; Pakistan players in three, with players from other teams carrying out spot-fixes in one match.”
Munawar, it says, was central to their investigation and has been involved in fixing Test matches, ODI matches – including those which were part of the 2011 World Cup, T20 Internationals – including those in the 2012 T20 World Cup, the Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash League. The documentary claims that Munawar and his associates stayed in the same hotel in Colombo as the players during the 2012 T20 World Cup. It also showed Munawar’s photographs with former India fast bowler Lakshmipathy Balaji, current India captain Virat Kohli and limited overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma. There were also photographs of Munawar or his alleged associates pictured in the same frame as Suresh Raina, Darren Sammy, who was captaining the West Indies at the time and Chris Gayle. However, Al Jazeera also states that said players in the photographs are “not implicated in any wrongdoing.”
The matches in which fixes were allegedly carried out include England vs India at Lord’s, South Africa vs Australia in Cape Town and several matches during England’s series against Pakistan in the UAE. The files suggest that the suspected fixes were usually carried out by batsmen who agreed to underperform. The matches in question appear to include multiple fixes, taking the tally of suspicious events to 26 in the 15 matches.
The matches include six Tests, six ODIs and three T20 World Cup games. As per the investigation and findings, 25 of the 26 predictions made by Munawar proved to be correct. Additionally, Munawar uses the same methods and language that he used during the investigation in 2016 and 2017, when he gave advance details about alleged fixes in two Test matches in India. His predictions were accurate in both cases.
The Munawar Files also include a recording of a call allegedly made by Munawar to an unnamed English cricketer, in which they appear to discuss spot-fixing. Munawar is heard saying he is sending money to the player’s account. However, the player in question has denied the conversation took place and suggested the recording was a fabrication. On their part, a forensic speech scientist has examined the recording and concluded that it had not been tampered with.
The 15 matches in question where spot-fixing took place as per the investigation:
1. Australia v England, ODI, 21.01.2011
2. Australia v Zimbabwe, ODI World Cup, 21.02.2011
3. England v Netherlands, ODI World Cup, 22.02.2011
4. Australia v Kenya, ODI World Cup, 13.03.2011
5. England v South Africa, ODI World Cup, 06.03.2011
6. England v Bangladesh, ODI World Cup, 11.03.2011
7. England v India, Test, 21-25.07.2011
8. South Africa v Australia, Test, 09-11.11.2011
9. Australia v New Zealand, Test, 09-12.12.2011
10. England v Pakistan, Test, 17-19.01.2012
11. England v Pakistan, Test, 25-28.01.2012
12. England v Pakistan, Test, 03-06.02.2012
13. Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe, T20I World Cup, 18.09.2012
14. England v Afghanistan, T20I World Cup, 21.09.2012
15. South Africa v Pakistan, T20I World Cup, 28.09.2012
ECB dismisses allegations
Allegations of spot-fixing by English cricketers have been dismissed by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Integrity Team. “Whilst the limited information we have been given by Al Jazeera is poorly prepared and lacks clarity and corroboration, it has been properly assessed,” the ECB said in a statement.
“Analysis of this by the ECB Integrity Team has cast no doubt on the integrity or behaviour of any England player, current or former.”
“The ECB takes its responsibilities on anti-corruption and preserving the integrity of cricket very seriously.”
“The materials we have been given have been referred to the ICC’s Anti-Corruption unit and we will continue to work with them, as is the correct procedure for protecting the game.”