Clarke, Waugh don't think there was fixing during Pak tour

Michael Clarke hoped that the claims of match fixing turn out to be false as they didn't sense anything fishy during the series against Pakistan.

updated: May 22, 2010 07:46 IST
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Shocked by speculation of match fixing during Pakistan's tour here, Australia's Test and ODI vice-Captain Michael Clarke and former skipper Steve Waugh hoped that the "devastating" claims turn out to be false as they didn't sense anything fishy during the series.

The ICC has acknowledged that the series, especially the Sydney Test, was under the suspicion but Clarke said he is confident that nothing suspicious happened during the series.

"The Sydney Test was a wonderful Test win. I can only talk personally. I certainly had no suspicions. Looking back it was a wonderful Test match and a huge win for us, but I certainly had no suspicions," Clarke was quoted as saying by 'The Australian'.

Waugh said he didn't see any deliberate under-performance during the Sydney Test, during which Pakistani wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal dropped four catches besides missing a crucial run out.

"I thought it was a great Test match," the former captain said.

"I would be devastated like all sports fans, if there was an element of match-fixing to it because it was a fantastic Test. It was up and down the whole way.

"It fluctuated, and that's what Test matches are all about, to have someone come out and say it wasn't quite right, that would be very damaging to the game and also to Pakistan," he added.

Waugh said Australia's come-from-behind victory was not unusual in any way as the world champions have proved themselves time and again.

"First day I said 'if you want to see a great victory I would back Australia now' because that's the sort of situation Australian cricketers like. They like to be behind the eight
ball, the odds against them, and that's when they produce their best cricket, so I wasn't surprised by the end result."

The former captain said match-fixing is anyways difficult to prove.

"It's very hard, very hard (to know). Particularly in cricket where it goes for six hours a day and there's a lot of deliveries, a lot of incidents happen," Waugh said.

"There's a lot of mistakes made because they are human. A lot of great things happen. How you distinguish between those I don't know. That's always going to be the hard part.

"Unless you've got hard evidence you are better off keeping your mouth closed because sport is like that. If it's too predictable no one would watch it," he asserted.

"We have heard these things before and they have got to be substantiated. There's always a lot of rumours. People have got to bring evidence to the table because otherwise it does damage the game of cricket."

Former Australian pacer Geoff Lawson echoed Waugh's views.

"Never say never, but my personal view is that there was no match fixing. The players were placed under pressure in a sporting sense and didn't have the right support from the administration," he said.

"People are quick to claim match fixing, but I think that's ridiculous and it is more so because it comes from within the system. A lot of people are covering their own
arses," he added.

Lawson also backed Akmal, who is facing allegations of deliberate under-performance.

"Kamran is a good cricketer and a good bloke, he is a really quiet guy. In Pakistan they bag him constantly because they want someone from Karachi or wherever and he just handles it and trains harder, works harder," Lawson said.

Former Australian wicket-keeper Ian Healy too supported Akmal and said the Pakistani fumbled because of the pressure situation in the Sydney Test.

"My technical eye says he wasn't doing it on purpose. Unless he is better than I think at acting nervous and tense, to me it was just absolute tension that meant he couldn't catch the ball," Healy said.

"(Mike) Hussey kept edging them at a time when he was most tense. If you were trying to drop a catch, you wouldn't do it like that. If you were on top of your game and that
confident that you were ready to drop a catch on purpose, you wouldn't be as stiff and tight as he was," he added.