Spot fixing threatens integrity of modern game: Ed Hawkins

Any comfortable assumptions that world cricket has largely eradicated corruption after the shock of the Hansie Cronje match-fixing scandal are challenged in a disturbing new book investigating India's illegal bookmaking underworld.

In "Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy; A Journey to the Heart of Cricket's Underworld", English author and cricket betting tipster Ed Hawkins says his confidence in the sport has been eroded "on the long trip to cricket's corrupt core".

Early in the book, Hawkins describes a bookmaker's message sent to him during last year's World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan, accurately predicting the course of the match. He watches, with a friend, "in a daze" as the match won by India, unfolds as outlined in the script.

Hawkins says during the course of his investigations he was given the names of 45 former and current internationals and domestic cricketers alleged to have been involved in corrupt activities. None of them are named for legal reasons.

Finally, he says, English county one-day matches, broadcast live on television in India, are now being targeted by bookmakers and fixers.

Hawkins's three-year journey started at the site of a London shop owned by the bookmaker recorded by Delhi police fixing matches with former South Africa captain Cronje in 1999.

It continued in India where he met bookmakers, punters and fixers and included lengthy interviews with Paul Condon, the first director of the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), and Lalit Modi, the man behind the Indian Premier League who said his life had been threatened three times by mobsters.

Cronje, who died in a plane crash 10 years ago, and two other international captains Mohammad Azharuddin (India) and Salim Malik (Pakistan) were banned for life for fixing the results of matches.

INSIDIOUS CRIME

Spot-fixing, the manipulation of individual incidents within a match which may not affect the result, is a more insidious crime and one which can be impossible to detect.

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