Cricket: Australia cheat?

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Cricket: Australia cheat? Empty Cricket: Australia cheat?

Post by Redszone on Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:16 pm

TEAM manager Steve Bernard has dismissed as "ludicrous" claims that Australia's openers are under investigation from the International Cricket Council for slow batting in their World Cup match against Zimbabwe.

Shane Watson and Brad Haddin struggled against the African minnow's spin bowlers early in their innings in the February 21 Group A game in Ahmedabad, reaching 0-5 from two overs and 0-28 off the first 11 overs.

They eventually made 6-262, with Haddin scoring 29 off 66 balls. Zimbabwe was dismissed for 171.

"The slow rate of scoring in the first two overs was scrutinised by the ICC anti-corruption and security unit," website said in a report from the national wire service, Press Trust of India.

"Sources aware of developments said the ICC ACSU (Anti-Corruption Security Unit) had carried out a quiet review of the match after questions were raised over the slow start taken by Watson and Haddin.

"With the spectre of spot-fixing now looming over international cricket following the bans on three Pakistani players for spot-fixing last year on the England tour, sources said the ICC ACSU was keeping a vigilant eye on all matches in the World Cup and the slow start by the Australian openers caught their attention."

Bernard confirmed that the ICC ACSU had made no approach to the Australian team, while Haddin said the entire issue was a joke. "You guys are better than that to know that's not the case," he told a press conference in Colombo yesterday when asked whether he was under investigation. "That's quite laughable, actually."

Bernard dismissed the report as nonsense.

"It's the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard in my life, that a team could be none for five after two overs and that's suspicious," Bernard said. "I think it's the silliest thing I've heard this week, and I've heard a lot of silly things since I've been here.

"At the start of any campaign, on a fresh track that the guys weren't used to, it took a bit of time (to adjust) but 260-odd was a pretty good score."

Bernard said Zimbabwe deserved credit for its bowling.

Left-arm spinner Ray Price, who opened the bowling against Australia and took 1-43 from 10 overs, is the ICC's third-ranked bowler in one-day international cricket.

The Australian team has already been under attack in India after skipper Ricky Ponting was fined for throwing his groin protector, causing damage to a TV set, which led to a letter of complaint from the Gujarat Association following the win over Zimbabwe.

Ponting was reprimanded by the ICC last week after accepting a code-of-conduct charge. Asked if the Australian players felt the India media were out to get them, Bernard said: "I can't say for sure if that's the case or not.

"As far as Ricky's incident goes, that was dealt with by the ICC. He has moved on with it."

An ICC spokesman declined to comment on the slow-batting claim made against the Australian openers.

Australia faces Group A rivals Sri Lanka in Colombo on Saturday before playing minnows Kenya and Canada in Bangalore on March 13 and 16 respectively.

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