Wednesday, May 9, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Aussies received phone calls
Information sought on state of Chennai Test

Sydney, May 8
In a fresh twist to the cricket betting scandal, three members of the Australian squad have claimed receiving anonymous phone calls in their hotel rooms during the third and final Test against India in Chennai in March seeking information on the condition of the pitch and the state of the match.

Australian Cricket Board chief executive Malcolm Speed told a press conference in Melbourne today that he was informed about it through captain Steve Waugh and team manager Steve Bernard and he, in turn, passed on the information to the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit as also the Indian police.

The three members of the Australian squad making the claim were vice-captain and wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist, off spinner Colin Miller and coach John Buchanan.

When contacted, Indian cricket board secretary Jaywant Lele told PTI on the telephone from Baroda that he was hearing of this revelation for the first time and added that the board would take necessary steps on receipt of a report from the ACB.

Mr Speed said “on the face of it, the calls were not illegal because no offers were made to the players. The good part was that it was reported and dealt with immediately”.

Gilchrist told Australian news agency AAP: “We get about 10 calls a day from Indian fans. This person was obviously of Indian descent. He said he was a very enthusiastic supporter and asked how I thought the game would go”.

“I said hopefully we would do well and then he asked questions about the wicket and whether it would turn and would that help Warne (Shane Warne) and Miller. It didn’t really set off any alarm bells then but then I asked who he was and he asked more questions, I said don’t worry about it and hung up. It was reported to the management very quickly and they got us to write a statement and explain exactly what happened. Then it became a non-issue and we could focus on the game.”

The same caller reportedly rang up Gilchrist, Miller and Buchanan at about the same time.

Mr Speed said the ACB did not know whether the caller was a gambler or a bookmaker and added that the Australian players were now well aware of the risk involved in such approaches. The ACB chief executive said Bernard also made certain that no other player or team official had received such calls.

Mr Speed refused to be drawn into talking about his meeting tomorrow with Buchanan, about whom there was speculation that he would not be a selector during the forthcoming tour of England.

“I’ll be talking to John about a number of issues tomorrow,” he said. PTI Back

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