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World Cup 2015 will be bigger and better: David Richardson

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MUMBAI: With ICC Cricket World Cup fast approaching, several questions relating to the integrity of the sport are looming large. To jog our readers’ memory, not long back the world witnessed the shocking demise of Bob Woolmer while the tournament was on in 2007. To clear all such doubts and questions, ICC chief executive Dave Richardson said, “On the corruption side, it’s safe to say we’re the best prepared we’ve ever been.”  

“There has been no stone left unturned,” he added even as preparations continue ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. However Richardson stressed on the need for players to remember their responsibilities to uphold the sport’s integrity at all times.

On the eve of the eleventh edition of the tournament, Richardson strongly reinforced the ICC’s expectations on player behaviour as well as maintaining the game’s integrity at all times, on and off the field of play. “Over the last six months, or even going back further to the last Ashes series, there have been too many examples of player’s behaviour going too far and overstepping the boundaries of acceptances. The amount of sledging and disrespect shown by players to each other was bad. Since then, we have done a lot of work with our Umpires and Match Referees to ensure that they are much more pro-active in terms of policing behaviour on the field and when players do over-step the mark, taking appropriate action,” he asserted.

While outlining the ICC’s recent worldwide clampdown in dealing with suspected illegal bowling actions, Richardson outlined the ICC’s position for the upcoming World Cup. “We want to make sure that we don’t lose ground on what I think has been significant progress over the last few months. We realised that we had a significant problem. There were just too many bowlers from all teams, bowling with suspected actions. So, I think we have made very good progress in identifying those bowlers, sending them off to be tested and where necessary, suspending them until they can remedy their actions,” he said.

Substantiating his point, he further added, “There might be one or two bowlers who were suspended and who are now coming back into international cricket and the challenge for them will be to make sure that they maintain their remedied action. The instructions to the match officials will be no different and these matches will be treated exactly the same as any other international match. And if there are bowlers who are bowling with suspect actions, they will be reported.”

With corruption and match-fixing specters that loom over world sport, Richardson credited the work of the local agencies, as well as the ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU). He believes that the ICC is well-equipped to deal with these threats.

“Our Anti-Corruption personnel have done a lot of work in entering into agreements, associations and arrangements with the local police and law enforcement agencies in both New Zealand and Australia. Our intelligence and information on who these corruptors are, and who may try and fix matches around the world, has grown. We know exactly where these people are and we have got a list of more than a hundred names that we will be passing on to these law enforcement agencies. It will be very difficult for anybody outside of the game to come and even attempt to try and corrupt players, umpires or anybody involved in the World Cup, to try and fix a match,” he emphasised.

“In addition, the New Zealand and Australia governments have introduced specific legislation, which makes attempting to fix, or fixing matches, a criminal offence. This enables, not only us (ICC ACSU) but the police themselves to take much more specific and direct action against these people who are trying to corrupt the game,” Richardson added.

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