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Cricket: ICC probes match-fixing in Bangladesh

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The International Cricket Council is probing allegations of match-fixing in Bangladeshi cricket with former national captain Mohammad Ashraful among those being questioned, local officials said Thursday.

ICC anti-corruption inspectors were investigating allegations of wrongdoing during a match in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), a spokesman for the Bangladesh Cricket Board said.

"The allegations involve a match between Dhaka Gladiators and Chittagong Kings in the second edition of the BPL," spokesman Jalal Yunus told AFP.

Local media reported that 28-year-old Gladiators star Ashraful was allegedly paid about one million taka ($12,800) to lose the February 2 match, but the cheque he was given later bounced.

The big-hitting batsman was also allegedly involved in fixing another match 10 days later, against the Barisal Burners, which his team lost by seven wickets, the reports by English-language daily New Age and several Bengali newspapers said.

Spokesman Yunus refused to confirm whether Ashraful was under investigation, but a BCB source told AFP that the batsman was among those being interviewed.

Ashraful, who captained Bangladesh between 2007 and 2009, could not be reached for comment. The owner of the club, Salim Chowdhury, has strongly denied any wrongdoing.

Officials from the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) were expected to submit a report on their investigation to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) "very shortly", Yunus said.

"After receiving the report from ACSU we'll act in line with the BCB's anti-corruption code of conduct," he said.

The BCB hired the ICC officials at a cost of 20 million taka ($255,000) to monitor the second edition of the BPL that concluded in February, Ismail Haider Mallick, the BPL secretary and a BCB official, told AFP.

The ICC could not be reached immediately for comment.

The allegations are the latest to hit Bangladeshi cricket including the BPL, which was launched in 2012 in emulation of neighbouring India's lucrative Twenty20 tournament.

Indian cricket is embroiled in its own scandal involving alleged betting and spot-fixing during the just-finished Indian Premier League season, with the arrest this month of three players and scores of bookmakers.

The probe in Bangladesh comes after the BCB banned indefinitely ex-international spinner Shariful Haque in September after an inquiry found him guilty of spot-fixing during the first edition of the BPL.

A Pakistani national was also arrested on separate spot-fixing charges last year.

In March the BCB banned international umpire Nadir Shah for 10 years after a sting operation by an Indian TV channel found him apparently willing to fix matches for cash.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130530/cricket-icc-probes-match-fixing-bangladesh