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Wednesday, November 17, 1999 Published at 11:22 GMT

Sport: Cricket

New Zealand series 'rigged' - claim

India's preparations for the fifth match have been thrown into turmoil

Indian cricket has been rocked by allegations of match-fixing as the national side prepares for their decisive fifth one-day international against New Zealand in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Administrator Sunil Dev raised the lid on the issue when he appeared to suggest on television that bookmakers had been tipped off that the series would end in a rigged 2-2 draw.

"I don't bet myself but I was told by one of Delhi's biggest bookmakers that the series will be tied 2-2," said Dev, a former vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

India lost the first one-dayer at Rajkot and then won the next two at Hyderabad and Gwalior before the Kiwis drew level in the fourth at Guwahati last Sunday.

Dev presently runs cricket affairs in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), which hosts the final match.

"I should be happy that we are hosting such a needle match," he said.

"But it worries me that dubious people like bookmakers can accurately predict how the series will go."

Inquiry demanded

Dev, who raised similar doubts when he was manager of the Indian team on tour in South Africa three years ago, demanded a Pakistani-style judicial inquiry.

"Somewhere, someone has to speak up," he said.

"Someone has to pursue the truth to ensure that cricket stays the institution we have known it to be."

World cricket has been dogged by betting and match-fixing charges in recent years.

The International Cricket Council appointed its own panel to investigate the allegations.

A Pakistani judicial inquiry has yet to announce its verdict over allegations Wasim Akram tried to bribe former pace bowler Atta-ur Rehman to play poorly against New Zealand.

The decision is unlikely to be made public until Pakistan's current tour of Australia ends in February.

Earlier in the year Akram, Ijaz Ahmed and Salim Malik were cleared by Pakistan's Accountability Bureau of throwing the World Cup Final against Australia.

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