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May 21, 2001

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Fixing's big, says Botham

The match-fixing scandal threatening the credibility of international cricket is far greater than previously suspected, according to former England captain and television commentator Ian Botham.

"I think we've just touched the tip of the iceberg," Botham told the BBC programme Panorama on Sunday.

"It's not just the players that are involved, it's a much wider network. I've heard figures of as much as a billion U.S. dollars changing hands on a test match."

Three former international captains, Hansie Cronje (South Africa), Mohammad Azharuddin (India) and Salim Malik (Pakistan) have been banned for life since Cronje admitted last year he had sold information to bookmakers.

Former England one-day captain Adam Hollioake told Panorama he had been asked before a one-day tournament in the Dubai resort of Sharjah if he wanted to become "very wealthy".

"I arrived in my hotel room to be greeted after about four or five minutes by a phone call from an anonymous caller asking me information about what my batting lineup was going to be, who I was going to bowl first," Hollioake said.

The programme also quotes the organiser of the Sharjah tournament, Sheikh Bukhatir, as saying: "I'm not saying there is no match-fixing."

The first report of the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption Unit, set up to investigate allegations of match-fixing, will be released on Wednesday.

Mail Cricket Editor

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