Ray Illingworth reveals match-fixing approach: Richard Gibson

Ray Illingworth was tapped up to throw a match against the Netherlands when he was England manager at the 1996 World Cup.

Illingworth, now 79, was twice approached by the same individual at the team hotel in Peshawar and reported the incident to tournament umpire Srinivas Venkataraghavan.

“This bloke sidled up to me in the foyer of the hotel the evening before and said: ‘You don’t need to win now, do you? You could lose it and it wouldn’t make a difference’. I thought it was a funny kind of conversation and later that night I was playing bridge in my room with the team doc plus Malcolm Ashton, the scorer, and Peter Martin, when the phone rang,” former England captain Illingworth recalled.

“Peter Martin picked it up and it was the same bloke again. He put the phone straight down and I reported it to Venkat. As manager there was no one else to report it to in those days.

“I told him that a bloke had been trying to tap me up about the match but as far as I was concerned we were trying to win and would win. ‘But just in case you think there is any hokey pokey going on anywhere, I am telling you now,’ I said.

“He just laughed and said ‘fine’. But it was certainly serious. England being beaten by Holland would have been pretty big odds in those days.”

Ashton, now a member of BBC Radio’s Test Match Special team, was on his first winter away as England scorer in 1995-96, and was a target of approaches himself. “I had three or four which I reported to Raymond. I received calls from people asking about team composition, what I’d heard about weather reports and if I had seen the pitch,” Ashton said.

England won the match comfortably, by 49 runs.

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South Africa coach Gary Kirsten incredibly missed BOTH teams being dismissed in Australia’s humiliating First Test defeat in Cape Town.

Twenty wickets fell in a whirlwind few hours on the second day as Kirsten dashed to see wife Deborah give birth to their third child.

Kirsten left to meet his newly-arrived daughter at lunch with the South Africans 49 for one, and was confused when, upon his return that evening, the scoreboard read 72 for one.

“Has it been raining?” he asked, upon entering the dressing room. “Er, no, this is the second innings, coach!”

Australia threw away their advantage at the halfway point in the match after being routed for 47, immediately after dismissing their hosts for 96.

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Somerset captain and Cricketer.com columnist Marcus Trescothick will not sit out a specific competition next summer in order to prolong his playing career.

Suggestions that Trescothick, who won the Professional Cricketers’ Association player-of-the-year award for 2011, will rest for the entire Clydesdale Bank 40 campaign are wide of the mark, although the 35-year-old accepts skipping occasional games across the season may help avoid burnout.

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Not sure how long the latest fad to hit world cricket will last – the wearing of Super Caps by players in the Caribbean’s one-day competition.

The leading run-scorer and most successful bowler from each round of the Super50 tournament – won by Jamaica – wore a different cap to their team-mates in the next match to commemorate their performance.

Call me a cynic but this one looks as though it might go the way of cricket’s other Super innovations – the Super Series, the Super Sub and the B & H Super Cup. Remember them?

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Matthew Gale and Alister McDermott made an interesting new-ball combination for Queensland in the Sheffield Shield win over Western Australia earlier this month – neither required to turn far for expert advice.

Gale, 27, is the nephew of England bowling coach David Saker while McDermott’s dad Craig McDermott is Australia’s equivalent, having succeeded Troy Cooley earlier this year.

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