Ponting out to focus on game

Skipper puts talk of illegal bookmakers to one side

Last Updated: 20/08/09 9:49am

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Ponting: fully focussed on final Test

Ponting: fully focussed on final Test

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Australia captain Ricky Ponting insists his team must focus on the final Ashes Test and not be distracted by concerns over approaches from suspected illegal bookmakers.

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Ponting confirmed on the eve of the fifth npower Test that Australian players responded as instructed by reporting the matter to the International Cricket Council as soon as attempted contact was made.

That was reportedly soon after the second Test at Lord's, and the ICC's anti-corruption and security unit is investigating after receiving a report from Cricket Australia.

"As players and as a team we did everything we were supposed to by the letter of the law and reported it to the ICC," said Ponting.

"It's now under ICC investigation."

Pressed on the subject, he declined to comment further - insisting only that readying his team for a match they need to draw to retain the Ashes is an obvious priority.

"It's irrelevant going into such a game as this. We have other things to worry about - we'll let the ICC look after it," he concluded.

ICC chiefs, meanwhile, are confident the Ashes series has not been affected by corruption.

The sport's governing body released a statement, clarifying: "There is no evidence of any illegal activity as a result of this approach, which took place following the second Test at Lord's in July, and the ICC would like to place on record their praise for the player approached and the Australia team management for reporting the issue.

"Approaches to players do happen, and it would be naive to assume otherwise; if they did not then there would be no need for the continuing existence of the ACSU.

"However, the ICC are confident that all approaches are being reported; they are proud of systems and education processes in place which have created a widespread culture of integrity among the world's top players - and they are pleased those players have confidence in the ACSU to report such matters."

England captain Andrew Strauss confirmed no England players have been approached.

"It does surprise me," he said of the approach to the Australians.

"The anti-corruption unit are doing a great job.

"They seem to have been on top of things for the last five or six years or so - so it is a surprise that it's reared its head again.

"It sounds as if the player concerned acted in exactly the right manner, and that will make it harder for them to get involved.

"I've never heard of any England player being approached."

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