The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sign language stumps cops

Colombo: Crooked players backed by prostitutes and sign language experts have beaten Sri Lankan police in the battle against match fixing during the ICC Champions Trophy tournament, officials said Sunday.

The anti-corruption unit of the International Cricket Council (ICC) held a meeting with the police here to review the security measures at the tournament ending here Sunday, but the prognosis was not good, officials said.

Police units had not bargained to battle women invited into the rooms of players in violation of the ICC’s strict “access control” regulations aimed at ensuring that they did not come into contact with bookies.

“The players had got wise to the police operation and they were giving the slip to guards deployed at the team hotel,” a police official said.

“Tackling the problem of women friends of players was a big problem.”

Police guards were deployed to escort players from the dressing room up to the boundary line to ensure they did not have a chance to exchange notes with book keepers and fix matches.

However, a top police source said they suspected that some players were using “sign language” to communicate with representatives of bookies at the stands located near the dressing rooms.

“They could use their own cricket gear to pass messages to bookies,” the police source said.

“A batsman could show pad and that would indicate how he intends to get out — with a lbw — and for the bookies that information can be turned into cash.”

However, the ICC did not think sign language played a part during the latest tournament and said it was “overall pleased” with the level of security provided by Sri Lankan authorities to enforce anti-corruption rules.

Meanwhile, after a row over women in rooms, the West Indies team had asked for police guards to be withdrawn, a move refused by the security authorities.

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