All set for a clean Sixes, Tandon says
Tough measures will be in place to ensure this weekend's Karp Group Hong Kong Sixes is free of corruption, including the players not having access to mobile phones and restricting public contact during the tournament.
Top Hong Kong Cricket Association official Dinesh Tandon (pictured) said measures already in place in previous years would be tightened following allegations that the event had been the target of match-fixing and spot-fixing syndicates last year.
'We will have very stringent procedures in place,' the HKCA chairman said.
'Players will be monitored during the tournament, they won't be allowed to have mobile phones and will not be allowed to come into contact with the public in the players' area.'
While these steps have been in place in the past, officials will be under orders to ensure the rules are strictly adhered to this year after the competition became embroiled in a match-fixing scandal earlier this year when a group of New Zealand players at the 2010 tournament said they had been approached by a 'Middle Eastern diamond dealer' who had offered them gifts.
The players told the International Cricket Council (ICC) of the suspicious approach, raising fears of possible match- or spot-fixing. Heath Mills, the New Zealand players' association CEO, then called for cricket's governing body to deploy its anti-corruption officials at the Sixes and similar unofficial tournaments.
The ICC investigated the incident but the matter has now been put aside, according to Tandon, who has maintained that the Sixes have always been 'corruption-free'.
'Nothing came of the ICC investigation and that incident has been put to rest,' he said. 'But this does not mean we will relax. We will remain vigilant and we have taken steps to ensure nothing untoward happens.'
While the players can be monitored during play from Friday to Sunday at the Kowloon Cricket Club, Tandon said they had no control of what the 12 teams did outside the playing environment or as to whom they came into contact with.
'But we have told the liaison managers who will be accompanying them to dinners and other functions to report to us if anything suspicious happens,' Tandon said.
The HKCA will also brief all team managers on the ICC's code of conduct before the tournament.
'In 2003, the ICC sent its anti-corruption unit to the Hong Kong Sixes but now they only send them to events which are an ICC event,' Tandon said. 'The ICC provides this service now, but we would have to pay for it. We are not having it as we believe we can control it and ensure the Sixes are free of any mischief.'
Australia will defend their title at an expanded 12-team competition starting on Friday. For the first time, an international Twenty20 game will also be played, when the All Stars, including Sri Lankan legend Sanath Jayasuriya and Pakistan's Shahid Afridi, take on the Rest of the World led by all-rounder Abdul Razzaq.