New ICC anti-corruption head
Internation Cricket Council (File)
London - A former Indian policeman with experience of tackling corruption is to be the new head of the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU), it was announced Wednesday.
Yogendra Pal Singh, 55, takes over from Ravi Sawani, who is retiring having headed up the ACSU since November 2007, the ICC, cricket's global governing body, said in a statement issued from their Dubai headquarters.
Singh, who is from New Delhi, spent 30 years in the Indian Police Service including several years with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), where he was joint-director in charge of anti-corruption.
His appointment comes at a sensitive time for the ACSU, whom have been criticised for failing to unearth major cricket corruption scandals, with England captain Andrew Strauss saying last month they appeared "woefully under-resourced".
Strauss was leading England in a Test at Lord's last year when three Pakistan cricketers - then captain Salman Butt and seamers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer - were all accused by British tabloid News of the World of conspiring to deliberately bowl no-balls as part of a 'spot-fixing' betting scam.
The trio, who all deny wrongdoing, were banned by the (ICC) for a minimum of five years each - verdicts they are appealing at the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
And the players, together with their agent Mazher Majeed, now face criminal corruption charges in England with a court trial set to start in October.
Cricket, with its numerous in-play incidents, is particularly vulnerable to 'spot-fixing' where betting stings can be arranged without having to fix the final result of the match.
And cricket's bid to combat the problem is complicated by the fact that betting on cricket in India, the sport's financial powerhouse, while illegal is nevertheless widespread.
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat, who paid tribute to the work of Sawani, said in a statement issued Wednesday: "As recent events have shown, the menace of corruption in sport is real.
"But with the measures we have established over the years the public can be confident that we will make certain the integrity of the sport is maintained," the South African added.
"We must, however, remain vigilant and YP will bring with him a fresh outlook to the continuing challenges that lie ahead."
Sawani announced just over a year ago he intended to stand down after this year's World Cup in the subcontinent, won by co-hosts India in Mumbai in April.
"The only input I've had is with the anti-corruption people who came round during the World Cup," Strauss told the London Evening Standard in an interview published last month.
"It seems to me that they are woefully under-resourced. I just don't think they've got the resources to do it properly. I haven't seen any resolve to deal with the issue."