A new controversy has hit the integrity of game of cricket after a documentary by Al Jazeera claimed that top international players were allegedly involved in spot-fixing between the years 2011 and 2012. The documentary titled ‘The Munawar Files’, is a follow up to a previous documentary on corruption in cricket by Al Jazeera.
‘The Munawar Files’ is based on some revelations by Aneel Munawar, who claimed that up to 15 international matches in the 2011-12 period had been subject to spot-fixing. The documentary claimed that from 2011 and 2012, a small group of England players allegedly carried out spot-fixes in seven matches; Australia players in five matches; Pakistan players in three, with players from other teams carrying out spot-fixes in one match across formats.
Aneel Munawar, who revealed all this information in the documentary, is supposedly a match fixer who is claimed to be connected to the crime syndicate D-Company. The channel claimed that its dossier includes photographs of Mumbai-born Dubai based alleged match-fixer Aneel Munawar and his associates hovering near, and purportedly talking to, international cricket players such as Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Lakshmipathy Balaji and Umar Akmal during the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in 2012. But the channel made it clear that there is no suggestion that these players were involved in any wrongdoing.
The ICC has been seeking footage of the sting carried out by the channel since it was first aired earlier this year. However, it claims to have got no cooperation from the channel. “As with the first programme we have and will continue to ask for the cooperation of the broadcaster. We have made repeated efforts to engage with the broadcaster as it can play such a crucial part in the full and thorough investigation it has called for,” ICC Anti-Corruption GM Alex Marshall said in a statement. “We do welcome the commitment from the broadcaster to share the files with Interpol and, I hope, other law enforcement agencies who can act upon the information and support us in ridding the sport of these criminals,” he added.
In response to the claims, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA) said that there was no credible information by the broadcaster to link their players to corruption. “Whilst the limited information we have been given by Al Jazeera is poorly prepared and lacks clarity and corroboration, it has been properly assessed,” the ECB said in a statement.
“Analysis of this by the ECB Integrity Team has cast no doubt on the integrity or behaviour of any England player, current or former. The ECB takes its responsibilities on anti-corruption and preserving the integrity of cricket very seriously. The materials we have been given have been referred to the ICC’s Anti-Corruption unit and we will continue to work with them, as is the correct procedure for protecting the game,” the statement further added.
The 15 matches in question where spot-fixing took place as per the investigation are:
- Australia v England, ODI, 21.01.2011
- Australia v Zimbabwe, ODI World Cup, 21.02.2011
- England v Netherlands, ODI World Cup, 22.02.2011
- Australia v Kenya, ODI World Cup, 13.03.2011
- England v South Africa, ODI World Cup, 06.03.2011
- England v Bangladesh, ODI World Cup, 11.03.2011
- England v India, Test, 21-25.07.2011
- South Africa v Australia, Test, 09-11.11.2011
- Australia v New Zealand, Test, 09-12.12.2011
- England v Pakistan, Test, 17-19.01.2012
- England v Pakistan, Test, 25-28.01.2012
- England v Pakistan, Test, 03-06.02.2012
- Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe, T20I World Cup, 18.09.2012
- England v Afghanistan, T20I World Cup, 21.09.2012
- South Africa v Pakistan, T20I World Cup, 28.09.2012