After three days of one-sided matches in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, fans and organisers were hoping for a close game between Bangladesh and South Africa at The Oval.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland says there is no credible evidence linking Australian players to corruption after claims were made in a documentary against two unknown players.
Al Jazeera aired the allegations on Sunday, shining the spotlight directly on last year’s drawn Test between Australia and India in Ranchi, as one of several to be questioned across the world.
The International Cricket Council says it is taking the allegations of corruption seriously and they have launched an investigation.
“The ICC has now had the opportunity to view the documentary into corruption in cricket and as we have previously stated, we are taking the contents of the programme and the allegations it has made extremely seriously,” Alex Marshall, general manager of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit, said in a statement on Sunday.
“A full investigation led by the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit, working with full co-operation from all member countries identified in the program, is now underway to examine each claim made.”
In the documentary, a criminal claims two unnamed Australian batsmen were paid off to bat slowly during a period of play in the Test when he calls from the ground in Ranchi.
Sutherland stressed there was no credible evidence linking any Australian players.
Crucially, there is no time stamp on the footage, and there is no audio of any Australian player present in the documentary.
There was also no way for fixers to know which two batsmen would be batting together at any time in a match, while Australia fought out for a draw.
“Although not having been provided an opportunity to view the documentary or any raw footage, our long-standing position on these matters is that credible claims will be treated very seriously and fully investigated,” Sutherland said in a statement.
“Cricket Australia will continue to fully co-operate with the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit in its review of the matter.
“Cricket Australia and the ICC take a zero-tolerance approach against anyone trying to compromise the integrity of the game.
“Neither the ICC or Cricket Australia is aware of any credible evidence linking Australian players to corruption in the game,” Sutherland said in a statement.
The documentary is the same one that claimed pitches were doctored to achieve desired results at Galle International Stadium in Sri Lanka.
Australia were heavily beaten by 229 runs inside three days in 2016 at the coastal ground.
It’s understood Cricket Australia had contacted players last week to alert them of the allegations.