Bridgetown:World cricket's top administrator has insisted officials are "extremely vigilant" when it comes to 'spot-fixing' after Pakistan's Danish Kaneria was arrested in a betting probe.
But International Cricket Council (ICC) president David Morgan, in an interview here in Barbados on the eve of the World Twenty20 final between Australia and England, insisted: "I can honestly say to you that I have no knowledge of any spot-fixing that I am refusing to tell you about." Kaneria and a colleague at English county side Essex, Mervyn Westfield, have been arrested in connection with a police investigation into betting, a club official confirmed Saturday.
Both Test leg-spinner Kaneria, 29, and 22-year-old pace bowler Westfield were questioned on Friday before being released on bail.
It is understood the match under scrutiny was a 40-over win against Durham last September. The investigation centres on the practice of 'spot-fixing' whereby money is placed on individual details in a match.
"I've been aware of the potential problem at Essex for a little while," Morgan told AFP at his Barbados hotel here on Saturday, ahead of Sunday's showpiece match at the Kensington Oval.
"And I was made aware by Mr (Haroon) Lorgat (the ICC chief executive) yesterday (Friday) that those two cricketers had been seen by the Essex police," Morgan added.
"There is a police inquiry and therefore there is absolutely nothing I could or would wish to say (about Kaneria and Westfield's arrest)," insisted Morgan, a former chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board.
In its recent past, cricket has had to deal with several match-fixing scandals, most notoriously including betting scams involving the late former South Africa captain Hansie Cronje.
But in an era of spread betting, the issue of spot-fixing, where events such as the number of wides in an over can be gambled on, is potentially even a bigger problem for cricket as results do not have to be "fixed" for an underhand betting coup to take place.
Turning to the issue of spot-fixing in general, Morgan said: "Cricket is full of discreet events - overs of six balls, powerplays, in first-class cricket the morning, the afternoon and the evening (sessions).
"There are lots of these discreet events that attract people who gamble."