Spot-fixing controversy September 1, 2010

Watson blames ICC for Pakistan mess

Shane Watson has questioned whether the ICC really wants to eradicate match-fixing and spot-fixing from cricket due to fears the problem might run too deep. A day after confirming he had reported two approaches from bookmakers during last year's tour of England, Watson blamed the ICC for allowing the issue to fester.

Watson said the fact a newspaper was responsible for highlighting the irregularities involving Pakistan's recent performances, which were revealed during the fourth Test in England, showed the ICC's system was unsuccessful. "The ICC anti-corruption unit is not really working," he said during a sponsor's function in Sydney.

"That's totally to do with the ICC, so they really need to step in and really get to the bottom of it. Maybe they don't want to get to the bottom of it because it might run too deep."

The ICC has defended its approach but Haroon Lorgat, the chief executive, did admit the anti-corruption and security unit had no power to arrest or go undercover. Lorgat has promised "prompt and decisive" action if any of the players are found guilty.

Watson said the situation needed to be sorted out "as soon as possible" to maintain credibility and interest in the game. "People might turn away from cricket because they don't know [whether] what they are seeing is actually the true facts of cricket," he said.

Meanwhile, Mark Taylor, the former Australia captain, said talk of banning Pakistan from world cricket was not justified. "I don't agree with that, I think it's too harsh a penalty for one nation," Taylor, a Cricket Australia board member, said in Sydney.

"If they have one person, two people, three people involved in match-fixing or fixing certain deliveries ... to throw the whole nation? No, I'm not for that. I think it would not be a good thing for world cricket to have Pakistan not involved."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo