London: Indian bookies are fixing "soft target" county matches in England, according to an investigation by Sunday Times. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided to investigate the allegations.
The paper claimed the bookies find county matches a soft target for match-fixing because of low levels of monitoring and that there was graft in the 2011 World Cup India-Pakistan semifinal.
The report said that "tens of thousands of pounds are on offer to fix matches, typically 44,000 pounds ($70,000) to batsmen for slow scoring; 50,000 pounds ($80,000) for bowlers who concede runs; and as much as 750,000 pounds ($1.2m) to players or officials who can guarantee the outcome of a match".
The report quoted one Delhi bookmaker as saying: "English county cricket is a good new market. They are low-profile matches and nobody monitors them. That is why good money can be made there without any hassle if we can get the players to play for us."
The report said a Bollywood actress was aiding the bookies in fixing matches.
An ICC spokesman said of the Sunday Times report: "We are grateful for the information you have provided and will launch an inquiry into these serious allegations."
"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."
The revelations in the sport come after former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield was found guilty of accepting 6,000 pounds to concede a set number of runs during his team's match with with Durham in 2009.
Three Pakistani cricketers - Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif - were jailed last year for spot-fixing during the Pakistan Series against England in 2010.