MCC news July 20, 2011

Strauss would take lie-detector test

Andrew Strauss has said he would be "absolutely" willing to undergo a lie-detector test, if it was decided that they were the way forward in combating corruption in the sport, after Steve Waugh underwent the process and called for figurehead players to lead the way.

Waugh would ideally like international captains to take the lead in rooting out match-fixing even though he knows polygraphs could never be made compulsory. While his proposals received support from Strauss his opposite number, MS Dhoni, was less forthcoming with a straight "no comment" and suggested that he hadn't heard of the idea when asked whether he would take a test.

Strauss added that a lot of work would need to be done to prove if lie-detectors worked - and there are many differing opinions over the accuracy of testing - but was in favour of anything that could tackle corruption. "My response is that I'm in favour of anything that helps us get to the bottom of any wrong-doing in the game," he said. "It's vitally important for cricket going forward that it's as clean as possible and can demonstrate it's as clean as possible.

"The devil is always in the detail with this sort of thing. I don't know exactly how lie detectors work and how accurate they are, but I like the idea of it. I like the idea of us getting down to the nitty-gritty and finding out if any wrong-doing has been going on and therefore making the sport cleaner as a result."

During the test that Waugh undertook in Australia he read a prepared declaration stating that he had never been involved in fixing a cricket match, or any element of a match, and it may be a template that could be followed in the future.

"I, Steve Roger Waugh, do hereby declare that during my cricketing career except for manipulating matches for purely strategic or tactical reasons I never deliberately under-performed or fixed a cricket match or a passage of play within a match or did anything other than try my hardest for any cricket team I played for.

"I never received any form of payment, either in money or as a gratuity or benefit in return for under-performing in any cricket match I have played in."

Waugh said that it was his frustration at endless questions about corruption that prompted the idea of polygraphs. "There are a lot of rumours out there about match-fixing and spot-fixing. I became sick and tired about being asked if games I played in were above board."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ram on July 21, 2011, 14:31 GMT

    Are the politicians and businessmen of ICC ready to take this test..? Introduce this first there..then on players. Let it begin from the Highest office of Cricket !

  • Dummy4 on July 21, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    These should be tested at the board level first and then the poor players can be tested!

  • Andrew on July 21, 2011, 6:20 GMT

    @ jonesy2 - I agree, I think its irrelevant what the accuracy of a lie detector is. I would imagine the ICC would not line up all International players & put them on the Test. You would have to imagine that it would only be players where there have been allegations made & there were some corrobarrating evidence - such as with H Gibbs, or D Kaneria. @ NRI - ".. If someone who has never been corrupt becomes nervous and twitchy.." - I would imagine that players would only be asked/required to sit the test IF there was some substantial evidence, it is not a case of "Are you guilty?" & see what the response is. Where beating a lie detector test becomes difficult is when you are then asked questions like "have you ever met Mr X before?" or "have you ever been in this place before?" or "Can you verify what this transaction in your bank account was for?"

  • Bryn on July 21, 2011, 5:13 GMT

    the fact the lie detectors may or may not work is irrelevant, because a "corrupt" player does not know if the test works or not they are still going to be nervous or anxious to take the test and it would be easy to see who has something to hide. polygraph tests arent completely fool proof but they give the tester enough of an indication to be able to know who needs investigating etc.

  • Joel on July 21, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    Lie detectors are never used in any case where anybody wants proof. All you have to do is fool the machine into thinking your lies match your control questions by doing a small few things that Googling it will tell you. Lie detectors are no more than science fiction and simply do not work.

  • Vinay on July 21, 2011, 0:19 GMT

    Lie detectors are not fool proof - they can go wrong either way so they are not used in a court. If someone who has never been corrupt becomes nervous and twitchy, the lie detector will pick up the change in the heart rate - then what? Are we to assume that that person is guilty? If someone has no guilt over what they have done, they will not fail the lie detector even though they have committed fraud. The error rate in the lie detector in both directions will far exceed the DRS - let's not do it.

  • Trishu on July 20, 2011, 22:49 GMT

    Whatever you say about Steve Waugh no one will ever argue with the fact that Steve Waugh was always an honest competitor and Strauss is not that different. I think if the bodies that run cricket could develop something fool-proof (obviously not 100% as that is impossible) then it should be used because it will root out cheats. The system should be tested for all defects however because it would be a tragedy if the fault of testing throws out a genuine honest competitor.

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