The Head of Integrity for Cricket Australia has confirmed that foreign bookmakers are approaching emerging Australian cricketers on social media, seeking information on squads and playing conditions.
Iain Roy confirmed that players on the verge of making it to national squads and the Big Bash League (BBL) are being targeted by ‘pitch-siders’ via tools such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Roy said: We’ve had a number of approaches made on social media to players already this season. Twitter approaches asking for information about team selection, pitches and that sort of thing.”
Pitch-siders, who take advantage of broadcasting time delays to feed match information overseas and manipulate live betting markets, try to obtain information to send to illegal bookmakers.
Cricket Australia holds serious concerns about illegal foreign bookmakers operating Down Under, especially in the BBL, after a string of scandals in similar Twenty20 competitions overseas including South Africa’s Ram Slam T20 Challenge 2015-16.
In a bid to combat the problem, regulated Australian bookmakers such as TAB and CrownBet have partnered with Cricket Australia to provide information on suspicious bets.
Detailed information on bets placed on cricketers in and out of form, unusual punting such as players bowling several wides in an over and strange dismissals is now shared with Cricket Australia.
Roy, who would not elaborate on how many had been targeted so far, confirmed that cricketers in all forms of the game had been briefed not to reply to suspicious online approaches and report the behaviour to the game’s governing body.
A Cricket Australia spokesman said: “Australian cricket has a long-standing, proactive approach to sports integrity management. We are aware of various methods that can be used to bring the integrity of the game into question, and combat these in a proactive way.
“While there’s been no specific evidence or links suggested to Australian cricket, no-one can afford to be complacent about these issues and we need to remain vigilant. Cricket Australia takes a zero-tolerance approach against anybody trying to bring the game’s credibility into disrepute.
“All players in Australia are required to complete an anti-corruption education session each season before they can compete in CA’s domestic competitions, including the BBL.”