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Ponting brushes aside bookie issue

Investec Test Series

Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting is refusing to take his eye off the ball despite his players being approaches by bookmakers

Australia captain Ricky Ponting insists his team must set aside concerns over approaches from suspected illegal bookmakers as an “irrelevance” as they prepare for their Brit Oval Ashes decider.

Ponting confirmed on the eve of the fifth npower Test that Australian players responded as instructed by reporting the matter to the International Cricket Council as soon as attempted contact was made.

That was reportedly soon after the second Test at Lord’s, and the ICC’s anti-corruption and security unit is investigating the matter after receiving a report from Cricket Australia.

“As players and as a team, we did everything we were supposed to by the letter of the law and reported it to the ICC,” said Ponting. “It’s now under ICC investigation.”

Pressed on the subject, he declined to comment further - insisting only that readying his team for a match they need to draw to retain the Ashes is an obvious priority.

“It’s irrelevant going into such a game as this. We have other things to worry about - we’ll let the ICC look after it,” he concluded.
ICC chiefs, meanwhile, are confident the Ashes series has not been affected by corruption.

The sport’s governing body released a statement, clarifying: “There is no evidence of any illegal activity as a result of this approach, which took place following the second Test at Lord’s in July, and the ICC would like to place on record their praise for the player approached and the Australia team management for reporting the issue.

“Approaches to players do happen, and it would be naive to assume otherwise; if they did not then there would be no need for the continuing existence of the ACSU.

“However, the ICC are confident that all approaches are being reported; they are proud of systems and education processes in place which have created a widespread culture of integrity among the world’s top players - and they are pleased those players have confidence in the ACSU to report such matters.”

The ICC further insist the decisive match starting tomorrow should not be marred by suggestions of corruption.

“Incidents such as the one reported in the media illustrate the need for constant and ongoing vigilance on the part of players, officials and administrators - and there is no scope for complacency,” their statement continued.

“However, thanks to the ACSU, cricket is regarded by other sports as a world leader in the area of anti-corruption - and the ICC want it to stay that way.

“There is no indication that any matches in the current Ashes series or the ICC World Twenty20 2009 have been affected by corruption in any way, and the ICC are confident the issue is under control.”