KENT’S Darren Stevens has been charged by the International Cricket Council with failing to report a corrupt approach while playing in the Bangladesh Premier League.
It was revealed on Tuesday that nine individuals have been charged with corruption – seven with match-fixing or spot-fixing and two with failure to report illegal approaches, all stemming from the second season of the Twenty20 league.
None of the individuals were named at the time but 37-year-old all-rounder Stevens has now confirmed that he is one of the latter pair.
In a statement issued on his behalf by the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations, he said: “I confirm that I have been charged by the ICC with a failure to report a corrupt approach made to me during BPL2 in February this year.”
The charge faced by Stevens carries a maximum penalty of a five-year ban from cricket.
News of the nine charges was released on Tuesday in a joint statement by the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the International Cricket Council, whose anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU) monitored the tournament.
Stevens added in his statement yesterday: “I have not been involved in any corrupt activity and have not been charged with any and I am co-operating with the ICC and ACSU in their investigation and prosecution of the corruption charges in matters relating to the BPL.
“I am totally against any corruption in cricket and would never do anything other than perform to the best of my ability in any game. ICC have not suspended me from playing and I remain willing and able to play for Kent in all fixtures if selected.
“As the charge against me is now the subject of disciplinary proceedings I can make no further comment with regard to them at this stage.”
Stevens and the other individuals charged have 14 days in which to enter their pleas.
ICC chief executive David Richardson on Tuesday praised the work of ACSU in uncovering the alleged conspiracy within the Dhaka Gladiators franchise and also revealed other players had been forthcoming in providing evidence.
“Considering the limited resources available to the ACSU and the limitations that apply to its ability to uncover sufficient evidence to disrupt conspiracies of this kind, I am pleased that this investigation has led us to this outcome,” he said.
“Whilst we have charged some individuals with failing to report corrupt approaches that were made to them, it is important to stress that this investigation has also been built upon, among other things, evidence gathered from other individuals who not only rejected corrupt approaches made to them but then did what they were supposed to do and reported them to the ACSU.
“This fact demonstrates that the messages delivered by the numerous anti-corruption education programmes to all participants in the game are effective.
“The continuing fight against corruption in cricket is not only the responsibility of the authorities like the ICC and the BCB, but it is increasingly the personal responsibility also of all players and support personnel (including team owners, administrators, officials and representatives). They must work closely with the authorities and comply with their reporting responsibilities at all times, so that the integrity of the sport can be protected for the greater good.”
BCB president Nazmul Hassan reiterated his board’s “zero-tolerance” approach to fixing.
“As the custodians of the sport in Bangladesh, it is the responsibility of the BCB to protect its integrity for all those who engage in any way with the sport of cricket, whether players, spectators, broadcasters, sponsors or otherwise,” said Hassan.
“The BCB is committed to doing everything possible to defend it from the very small group of people who are willing to compromise the values of the overwhelming majority for personal greed and, in so doing, bring disgrace upon themselves and their associates, as well as tarnishing the image of the game.”
Stevens has long been established as a specialist in the shorter formats and was Kent’s leading runscorer in this summer’s Friends Life t20 with 267 runs, at an average of 38.14 and a punishing strike rate of 160.84, adding six wickets at 36.
He has also made 764 LV= County Championship runs, averaging 54.57, with two centuries and five fifties.
He played 12 games in the BPL and had a batting average of 35.16 and a strike rate of 142.56. He hit 55 not out from 35 balls against the Sylhet Royals on 29 January.