New Delhi: The International Cricket Council (ICC) is investigating claims that Indian bookmakers, with the help of a Bollywood actress, have been fixing the results of England county games and international fixtures, Britain's Sunday Times reported.
The newspaper said it had uncovered evidence that tens of thousands of
pounds (dollars) was on offer to players to throw part or all of international matches, including last year's World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan.
It said batsmen were being offered "typically 44,000 pounds ($69,000) for slow scoring, 50,000 pounds for bowlers who concede runs and as much as 750,000 pounds to players or officials who can guarantee the outcome of a match".
The paper said bookies had used an unidentified Bollywood actress to help with the fixing and stated: "So rife is match-fixing in parts of India that cricket may be in danger of losing its reputation as a civilised sport played by gentlemanly rules.
It cited one Delhi bookmaker boasting that English county cricket was also a "good new market", as it involved "low-profile matches and nobody monitors them. That's why good money can be made there without any hassle".
The allegations come just weeks after former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield became the first English cricketer to be jailed for corruption after admitting accepting money to fix a match against Durham in September 2009.
Last year, Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were also jailed in Britain for their role in an entirely separate 'spot-fixing' scandal concerning a 2010 Test match against England.
An ICC spokesman said it would investigate the new allegations.
"We are grateful for the information you have provided and will launch an inquiry into these serious allegations," he told The Sunday Times.
"Betting on cricket in the legal and illegal markets continues to grow rapidly and, with many, many millions of dollars being bet on every match, the threat of corrupters seeking to influence the game has not gone away."