Former Test opener Lou Vincent has confirmed he is one of three New Zealand past players being investigated for match fixing by the ICC.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is checking out three former New Zealand cricketers for possible involvement in match or spot fixing.
In a statement on Thursday, Vincent said: "I am co-operating with an ongoing ICC anti-corruption investigation that has been made public today. This investigation is bound by a number of rules and regulations that mean I am unable to make any further public comment."
The New Zealand Herald newspaper reported on Thursday that the ICC's anti-corruption and security unit have been in New Zealand over the past four months investigating fixing "in more than one country". The newspaper said the findings would likely result "in the biggest sports scandal in New Zealand's history".
The report published the names of the three players. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) refused to confirm the names, saying they would not be revealed while a judicial process was underway. NZC chief executive David White told reporters the fixing allegations did not concern matches involving the New Zealand team or games played in New Zealand.
In a statement, the ICC confirmed an investigation is underway. "The ICC confirms that it has indeed been working closely over the past few months with its colleagues in the domestic anti-corruption units of member boards to investigate these and related matters. The ICC and all of its members maintain a zero-tolerance attitude toward corruption in the sport and the ACSU will continue to collaborate with relevant individuals in order to complete its investigation process."
The head of the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association, Heath Mills, called on the players involved to identify themselves to prevent suspicion falling on all former players. "We're not happy that other past players are coming under suspicion," he said. "We are working with New Zealand Cricket to see what we can do about that. We are also conscious of the fact NZC and the ICC are bound by rules and regulations around confidentiality."
The Herald report said the ICC investigation was focused on "historic matches involving international stars". It said the probe "has concentrated on cricket at a domestic or franchise level" and it was not known whether it would reveal any attempt to fix international matches. The newspaper said none of the New Zealand players involved was still playing professionally.
The New Zealand government last week announced measures to combat drug taking, match fixing and the involvement of organised crime in sport, including the introduction of new laws which will make fixing a criminal offence. Those laws have yet to be enacted.
Former New Zealand Test allrounder Jacob Oram, who played for several seasons in the Indian Premier League, said he is surprised New Zealanders are under investigation. "In a way it's disappointing to think that if it does come out as correct that New Zealand is involved and potentially heavily involved in it ... that's disappointing for New Zealand's reputation around the world. I just hope it's not one of our greats or three of our greats and then everything you thought you know, your world would just get turned upside down."
During an undercover investigation last year by Britain's Sunday Times, leading Indian bookmaker Vicky Seth told a reporter he had contact with New Zealand players. "At the moment we've got connections with New Zealanders," Seth said. He named two players whom he claimed to have met in Delhi in 2010 but the names have not been published. – Sapa-AP