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Help ICC mum on Raina issue
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Mumbai: International Cricket Council on Wednesday refused comments on whether it was investigating Indian cricketer Suresh Raina accompanying a woman allegedly linked with illegal bookies, saying even if any report had been sent to it on the issue the matter will remain under wraps.

"We don't disclose the details of the financial deals with our commercial partners. Equally we also don't disclose the sending of reports by the cricket boards to the ACSU (Anti Corruption and Security Unit) in the public forum," Lorgat said.

"Boards speak with us and we speak with the boards. That's the protocol," said ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat at a press conference. He was reacting to reports in "Sunday Times" of London that the ACSU is probing why the Indian cricket board kept quiet about a report of Raina being seen in the company of a woman linked to an associate of an illegal bookmaker during his team's visit to Sri Lanka in July-August.

The report has been rubbished as "false and baseless" by BCCI secretary N Srinivasan in a media statement on October 24. "The BCCI has just learnt that several media outlets are claiming that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had submitted a report on Suresh Raina to it, and that no action was taken by the board on the same.

"The BCCI would like to clarify that it has received no such report from SLC. The claims being made by a section of the media are totally baseless and false," Srinivasan said in his media release three days ago.

According to the newspaper report, it was the reaction of the BCCI secretary that led to the ICC investigation. Instead of acting on the report, Srinivasan is alleged to have got the Sri Lankans withdraw it.

Raina plays for Chennai Super Kings, an IPL franchise owned by Indian Cements of which Srinivasan is a Vice-Chairman and Managing Director.

According to the newspaper the investigation, led by ACSU head Ravi Sawani is looking into why the Sri Lankans shared the report with the BCCI first when under ICC anti-corruption rules it should have gone straight to the world governing body.

Asked about the alleged spot-fixing incidents in England that has led to the suspension of three Pakistan players, Lorgat said while players' unions may or may not have support from their respective boards, Lorgat said that ICC was discussing ways to get member board-approved agents to represent the players.

"Most of the members boards have recognised player unions but some of them have not (including BCCI). We have left it to the member boards (discretion). As far as player agents are concerned discussions are going on about what had happened in England," he said.

In August, three Pakistan cricketers - Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer - were accused of spot fixing by taking money from illegal bookies to bowl no balls during a Test match against England at Lord's and were later provisionally suspended by the ICC.

This allegations came to the fore when a British newspaper conducted a sting operation on the three players' agent.

Lorgat came out in support of the decision of the Indian and Australian selectors to rest several top players during the recently held rain-hit three-match ODI rubber, saying it was done with a view to prepare the teams for the all-important World Cup next year.

"It was done with the World Cup in mind. I would have supported this rotation policy as a one-time chief selector of South Africa. It did not reflect the state of One-day cricket. A lot less noise is being made about (irrelevance of) the 50-over game than in the recent past," he said.

Lorgat was confident that a single-tier Test league would be put in place by 2012 leading upto the top four teams fighting it out for the final by 2013.

"We are at an exciting stage and the new Future Test Programme to be put in place in 2012 would see better position of Tests, 50 overs and T20 formats for the next eight years," he said."A Test league would be put in place in 2012 leading up to the top four teams making it to the semi finals and the final to be held in 2013," he explained.

Lorgat also said that the Asian Cricket Council, and not the ICC, would be more directly involved in the conduct of the T20 format of the game that is making its debut in next month's Asian Games in Guangzhou. "The ACC would be more directly involved because of the structure of the Games," he said about match officials' appointments and implementation of dope testing measures.
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