The ICC’s anti-corruption unit have taken previously unprecedented steps to ensure that this summer’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup will be the cleanest yet.
For the first time ever, each of the ten teams competing over the next six weeks in England and Wales will have their own dedicated anti-corruption manager travelling with them.
The plan is to build trust and strengthen the relationship between players and the ACU and also allows the manager to be best placed to spot any suspicious activity where it commonly takes place, away from the grounds and out of the public eye.
And with both a hotline number and an integrity app now also introduced to help players come forward and report potential approaches, the ICC are taking important steps to protect cricket from corruption this summer.
And ICC ACU General Manager Alex Marshall is confident that the 2019 edition of the tournament will be the safest yet.
“The advantage we have at this World Cup is that I can guarantee everyone in every squad understands what the threat is, and what they should be looking out for, and they know how to keep themselves away from this problem,” he said.
“Over the last 18 months we have charged 14 or 15 people. None of those are current players.
“The people we have charged are administrators, senior administrators, board members, coaches, ex-players and an analyst.
“These are people on the edge of the squad, not people currently among the player group.
“In addition to the people we have charged, we have also disrupted more than 30 corruptors who are outside our code, but we nevertheless pursued them wherever they are in the world to make it hard for them to operate as corruptors anywhere near cricket.
“When corruptors look at the World Cup they see a very well organised, professional, well governed and well protected event. This is a very tough event for corruptors to come near.
“Of course they would love to, the yields would be high but our job throughout the World Cup will be to make sure they don’t get near it.”
Identifying and charging bribers is a significant step for Marshall and his ACU unit.
But the key change is to bring in anti-corruption managers with each of the ten teams.
And Marshall is sure that this will make all the difference in protecting the game from outside influence.
“These (managers) are my people who work all around the world and usually someone who has been working for that team over the last year anywhere, has been on tours and has a good relationship with the players and staff,” he added.
“Our real work is away from the ground, with the squads and the places they are staying.
“We have developed a much closer relationship with the players and having them with across the whole World Cup just perpetuates that good relationship.
“And one of the indicators that we know it is working is a big increase in the number of reports coming in from the players.
“The threat is active and constant, but once the players have a good awareness and are well protected and a tournament is well run and cricket itself becomes resistant, that makes it harder and harder for the corruptors and maybe they will go elsewhere.”