Cricket: Waugh calls for use of lie-detector tests to fight match-fixing
PLAYERS may be asked to take lie-detector tests to help stop cricket match-fixing. The idea has been proposed by Steve Waugh, one of the toughest of all cricketers, who is to lead a new anti-corruption team to clean up the game.
With the Ashes in its crucial phase and both teams desperate to win the third Test in Perth, the world of illegal bookies, betting scams and rigged fixtures seemed thousands of miles away.
But the MCC world cricket committee, consisting of 19 former players and umpires, has been at the Waca urgently discussing what can be done to ensure the game regains its purity.
"Match-fixing is the greatest issue concerning the game right now," said Waugh, who has been on the committee since it was set up four years ago to deal with significant cricketing issues as an independent but influential voice.
"Personally, I get a bit sick and tired of answering questions about match-fixing: 'What do you know about it? Why is it in the game? What's happening?' For all players, it's something we don't want and something we've got to work towards getting a better situation.
"The lie-detector test idea came from me. I was thinking about how we can make players more accountable for their actions. If you have done nothing wrong, why wouldn't you have a lie-detector test to say you have done nothing wrong?
"Of course, you can't make it compulsory, but I'm saying that if players want to take a lie-detector test to show they have done nothing wrong then I don't see anything wrong with that. It's just one step, it doesn't mean everyone has to take it."
The proposal gained an immediate welcome from the ICC, which issued a statement saying: "We have a zero-tolerance policy towards corruption and we would consider anything, including lie-detector tests, which would help us stamp it out."
Having led Australia in 57 Test matches, Waugh pinpointed where corruption was likely to start in teams.
"One of the main points is the captains," he said. "They have got to be mentors and role models to the young guys in their sides.
"Look back at most of the issues confronting match-fixing; they have only been instigated because the captains have been involved and once the captains have been involved younger players see that and think, 'Well, if it's okay for him, it's okay for me.' Once you have taken that first step, you're committed."
Waugh, no doubt, had in mind the examples of Mohammad Azharuddin and Hansie Cronje, both of whom were banned for life after they were found to be match-fixers.
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