‘Ridiculous’: Cricket World Reacts to Al Jazeera’s Fixing Sting

Here’s a look at how former cricketers and present captains reacted to Al Jazeera’s sting operation on match-fixing.

3 min read
File photo of Michael Atherton.

Former England captain Michael Atherton is "highly sceptical" of claims made in a television programme that players for England and Australia may have been involved in 'spot-fixing' activities during Test matches in South Asia.

The Al Jazeera programme "Cricket's Match Fixers", broadcast on Sunday, alleged incidents of spot-fixing in a Chennai match between England and India in December 2016, the Australia-India Test in Ranchi in March 2017 and the Sri Lanka-India Test in July 2017.

Match-fixing has become a major concern for the sport in recent years and the International Cricket Council (ICC) has launched an investigation.

'Spot-fixing' refers to manipulation of part of a game to deliver a given outcome for betting purposes.

The documentary also made allegations that the stadium manager at Galle in Sri Lanka may have doctored the pitch at the behest of fixers and suggested minor Twenty20 competitions had also been targeted.

Here’s a look at how the cricket world has reacted to the sting operation.

Michael Atherton, Former England Captain

When it comes to betting and fixing, dangers are ever present. There is a massive black-market operation in India worth many billions of pounds. The game, especially around the fringes, and where there are enormous discrepancies in earning potential, is vulnerable. But highly paid international players in very visible, high-profile matches? In this case I remain highly sceptical.
Michael Atherton, wrote in his column for The Times

“Since the match-fixing crisis of the 1990s, the awareness among players of the problem of fixing, the potential consequences (time in jail and five years out of the game for Mohammad Amir, remember, for nothing more than a newspaper sting) and stringent controls around dressing rooms by the ICC have made it much less likely to be a problem in international cricket. The players are paid too well (especially those from India, England and Australia). They have too much to lose,” added Atherton.



The BCCI has a zero-tolerance approach to any activity or act that brings the game of cricket to disrepute or mars the integrity of the game. The BCCI anti-corruption unit is working closely with the ICC anti-corruption on the alleged claims by a television channel.

Trevor Bayliss, England Coach

Outrageous. I knew a documentary was going to be coming out. I wouldn’t have a clue what’s in it yet, or seen it. But, having been there (at the Chennai Test), outrageous is all I can say.

Joe Root, England Test Captain

I am aware that there is a documentary and it is outrageous that our players have been accused. It’s not anything for the guys to worry about, we have to focus on winning at Headingley (against Pakistan). All the players have been briefed by the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board), and been told there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. I’ve just been told to strongly deny the accusations, because it sounds quite ridiculous really. It’s for the ICC to sort out – they’re the people in charge – and if there’s anything to it they’ll look into it.

Tim Paine, Australian Captain

At this stage it’s unsubstantiated claims. We’re confident that none of our guys are involved in it. As far as I’m concerned our players have got nothing to worry about. I’m really confident none of our players are involved.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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