New Delhi: Cricket Australia has asked media house Al Jazeera for raw footage of its documentary which claims to have unearthed a massive fixing scandal involving the Australian cricket team. The match in question here is the Test between India and Australia in Ranchi in 2017. The third Test of the four-match series between the cricketing giants had ended in a draw.
Batting first, Australia scored 451 in their first innings, thanks to centuries from Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell. In reply, India piled on runs and declared their innings at 603/9, with Cheteshwar Pujara scoring a double century. Australia had reached 204 for six in their second innings before the two captains shook hands and match was ended in a draw. In the Al Jazeera documentary, the names of two Australian cricketers were muted and Cricket Australia has now asked the news organization for raw footage of its documentary to check whether allegations of spot-fixing are credible.
Meanwhile, the Board of Control for Cricket in Indian (BCCI) on Sunday reacted cautiously to the Al Zazeera sting operation which has alleged pitch doctoring in three Test matches featuring India. The board also said it would consider action against implicated former cricketer Robin Morris only if he is found guilty in an ongoing ICC probe.
The three ‘doctored’ Test matches are India vs Sri Lanka (Galle, July 26-29, 2017), India vs Australia (Ranchi, March 16-20, 2017) and India vs England (Chennai, December 16-20, 2016). The first and third Tests mentioned were won by India while the Ranchi encounter ended in a draw. “We believe ICC has started its probe. Let them complete that and pronounce Morris guilty. The BCCI will only act when they have the verdict in hand,” a senior office-bearer of the Board said. He also said that Morris, who has played 42 first-class and 51 List A matches in his career is not currently involved in any BCCI projects.
The ICC has launched an investigation into the matter even as it claimed Al Jazeera is not co-operating enough. Morris, along with former Pakistan cricketer Hasan Raza (world record holder for being youngest ever Test cricketer), is allegedly seen in the video bragging about their connections and ability to fix pitches through groundsmen.
The Mumbai cricketing fraternity wasn’t particularly shocked by the allegations against Morris. A product of the famous Shardashram School and a disciple of Ramakant Achrekar (Sachin Tendulkar’s formative coach), Morris was considered to be a handy limited overs cricketer, who quit cricket at 31.
“Had his best days coincided with IPL, he would have been a good domestic pick. But he went to the rebel (and now defunct) Indian Cricket League just after taking eight wickets for Mumbai in Irani Trophy,” a Mumbai cricket insider said. Since the controversy broke on Saturday, Morris has disconnected his mobile number and has also deleted his Facebook account.