Sir Paul Condon
Sir Paul Condon in Lahore
Photo © CricInfo
Sir Paul Condon, the Head of ICC's Anti Corruption Unit, expressed his gratitude to the PCB upon assisting him in carrying out his duties. Speaking at a press conference at a local hotel, Sir Paul said, "I am delighted by the support rendered by the PCB Chairman and every other concerned person with regard to my working". He had separately met the PCB Chairman, Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum of the Lahore High Court and others.

Sir Paul's speech while lacking in substance was profuse in furthering what he has already laid down in his report and recommendations issued last Wednesday.

He vowed to reduce the bane of match fixing by the 2003 World Cup, saying, "I cannot guarantee to completely eliminate corruption from the great game of cricket, I can, however, assure that it would be reduced to a minimum by the next World Cup".

After giving details of the personnel attached to the ACU, including three former investigators from British police, a security manager and a computer expert, Sir Paul, a former police commissioner himself, went on to reveal that he had at first refused to take up this particular job. However, he only accepted the task after seeking a number of assurances from the ICC.

These assurances include the sincerity and earnestness of the cricket world in rooting out corruption, independence in carrying out his duties, and provision of the above-mentioned full-time colleagues.

Refraining from divulging the names of individual cricketers involved in corruption, as it could be detrimental to the legal aspects of the process, Sir Paul claimed, "sadly, there still are a number of players whose involvement in shady activities can't be denied and we are sincerely hoping to cleanse the game of such names".

Calling the players marring the reputation of cricket by their dishonest activities as cowards, Sir Paul Condon discussed in depth, the different ways and means through which a match could be fixed, ranging from the toss to underperformance in batting, bowling and fielding. Other means include corrupting groundsmen, umpires and others.

Discussing the role of Cricket Boards, Sir Paul lauded their collective efforts against corruption and went on say, "the Qayyum Report in Pakistan and King Commission's Report in South Africa are some of the efforts by individual Boards, which has also helped me a great deal in my investigations".

Stressing that the ICC is to discuss his recommendations in its June meeting, Sir Paul stated that his report was just a preliminary step and that, "apart from interviewing various individuals, his Unit has to visit India to look into alleged links between match fixing and organized crime".

He also showed intentions of investigating the allegations by Chris Lewis, a former England pacer, against a number of players. The investigation of match fixing relating to the ICC Trophy held in Dacca in 1998 is also on the cards. He declined to comment on investigations on specific players, matches or series because he felt that his inquiries may be compromised.

In the end, Sir Paul Condon commended the efforts of journalists around the world, who through their investigative reporting set the course for further probing of the matter.

Identifying the personnel indulging in match fixing as greedy and opportunistic, he also praised all those cricketers who had opposed all temptations to indulge in corrupt practices. He stated he would like to come back to Pakistan again and praised the cooperation and support he received on this first visit.