The ICC has confirmed Hong Kong are not under a specific investigation ©Getty Images

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has been forced to deny suggestions Hong Kong are under investigation from the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) after the organisation’s chief executive David Richardson appeared to suggest they were the target of a match fixing probe.

Richardson had seemingly raised suspicions that the Hong Kong Cricket Association (HKCA) were under scrutiny in comments made on Monday (March 7), where he revealed “a particular player was suspended from his country and the investigations relate to that same team”.

Hong Kong’s Irfan Ahmed was charged and suspended in January for failing to report an attempted match fixing plot.

It followed Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the head of the ACU, claiming that they had become aware of a spot-fixing incident and that an unnamed national side were investigated ahead of the start of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in India.

The chief executive’s comments seemed to point towards the investigation being targeted at Hong Kong but the HKCA have given assurances by the ICC that is not the case.

They have been told they are “under no greater security than any other team competing at the World Twenty20”.

“Ordinarily, neither a Board nor the ICC comments on matters relating to ACU activities or investigations, but, following a range of comments and subsequent media reports that suggested that the Hong Kong team is under investigation, we feel it is imperative to clarify these misleading and damaging reports,” HKCA chief executive Tim Cutler said in a statement released today.

Ireland and The Netherlands were both eliminated after their matches against Bangladesh and Oman respectively were abandoned due to heavy rain
Ireland and The Netherlands were both eliminated after their matches against Bangladesh and Oman respectively were abandoned due to heavy rain ©Getty Images

“David Richardson also clarified in a press conference in Delhi on Wednesday that all teams involved in the ICC World Twenty20 2016 will be equally monitored, as per usual ICC practice, to isolate them from any attempts to corrupt them or the results of their matches.

“Sir Ronnie Flanagan has expressed his deepest gratitude for HKCA’s assistance in the ongoing fight against corruption, and in particular, our support of recent ACU activities.

“Naturally, we are very disappointed that this matter has been raised in this manner and at this time, but we thank the ICC for clarifying the matter, and publicly supporting Hong Kong and our efforts to combat corruption.

“We are here to play cricket, and will now move on from this matter to focus on the remainder of the tournament.”

Today’s two preliminary round matches in Group A in Dharamsala were both washed out, eliminating both The Netherlands and Ireland from the competition.

The Dutch team’s clash with Oman, who stunned Ireland with a shock win in their first group match, was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to persistent and torrential rain.

Bangladesh’s meeting with Irish team fared slightly better as the Asian team had raced to 94-2 from just eight overs before the rain put paid to any chances of the game being completed.

Surprise package Oman and Bangladesh will face off on Sunday (March 13) in a showdown for the only available spot from the group in the main draw of the tournament.