Corruption was at the top of the agenda for the MCC World Cricket committee at its meeting in Auckland on 25 and 26 February.
While the committee praised ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit for its player education programme and preventative work which had made inroads at international level, it warned that the problem had been displaced to domestic and franchise cricket.
Former Australia wicket-keeper Rod Marsh said: “With the proliferation of Twenty20 leagues all over the world, there are opportunities to use that format to taint the game. Cricket needs to be so vigilant and invest more resources to make sure the problem does not get out of hand.”
Cricket needs to be so vigilant
Before the meeting, the committee took soundings from current and former players, as well as bookmakers and betting exchanges, to understand the problem in greater depth. The findings were illuminating, chairman Mike Brearley explained: “We learnt that the chances of a maiden being bowled in Twenty20 cricket in the last ten years were less than 1%.
"That’s an interesting statistic to bear in mind if you see a maiden played out.
"It is not inevitably suspect, but it just raises a little question and then, if a lot of other factors come in, an investigation has to start into that period of play in earnest.”
Watch: MCC World Cricket committee on corruption in cricket
Given such intelligence from the betting community on atypical periods of play, the committee called for the development of software help cricket officials and administrators assess probabilities of certain outcomes in the four areas of the game that attract betting from illegal bookmakers – results, lunch and tea scores, brackets (specified periods of play) and end-of-innings scores.
The committee all agreed on the need for players – and particularly captains – to take a part in fighting the problem.
“Prevention is better than a cure,” said former Australian captain Steve Waugh.
“I think the ICC are doing some excellent work, and that is considering that a lot of the time they can’t reveal what they are doing or what sources they are tapping into.
"The structures and education programmes that the ICC has put in place are making players aware that if they do something that isn’t right they will get caught out.”