"Evil" illegal gamblers using the grooming methods of paedophiles to try and corrupt cricketers have not gone away but the game's anti-corruption chief Ronnie Flanagan said on Friday 6 February that he is confident the upcoming World Cup will be clean.
Match and spot-fixing scandals have dogged cricket over the past few years but Flanagan said the authorities in host countries Australia and New Zealand had done everything in their power to ensure the tournament was free of corruption.
"I would like to assure you and through you, assure the public, particularly the paying public who will come to this wonderful tournament, that they will indeed be coming to a tournament where all of those involved, including the local organising committee, have done all in their part to make sure indeed it will be a tournament free from corruption or threat of corruption," Flanagan told a news conference.
Flanagan, head of the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), praised the national and state governments in host countries for enacting legislation to criminalise manipulating sporting events.
Education programmes have also been put in place to ensure that every player at the tournament, which runs from 14 February to 29 March, is aware of how the illegal gamblers try to exert their influence.
"Of course, as is usual, we will be delivering education programmes to all the team's squads reminding them of their responsibilities and reminding them of the commitment they must strictly adhere to right throughout the tournament," Flanagan said.
"But actually in those education programmes, they will start with a message from me, where I say to the players, this is not in any sense because we don't trust you. But in our line of work we too often meet and know that there are rotten people out there, criminal people out there, who will do all in their power to get at players and others of influence within the game.
"They'll trick them, they'll coerce them, they'll try and attract them, they're almost like paedophiles in how they attempt to groom people to ultimately attempting to do what suits their nefarious intentions in terms of illegal betting and other elements of criminality."
Flanagan said the Australian and New Zealand lawmakers, police and his unit had already been working together for two years to prevent any corruption.
Flanagan, formerly Britain's top policeman, also defended his decision to curtail Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Amir's five-year ban for spot-fixing seven months before it was due to expire.
Amir, who is restricted to domestic cricket and will not play at the World Cup, had shown genuine remorse for his part in the deliberate bowling of no-balls by pre-arrangement during Pakistan's tour of England in 2010, Flanagan said.
The 22-year-old had also co-operated fully with investigators and his participation in the education programmes would send a "very powerful message", he added.
Flanagan said: "It's one thing for international athletes and sport people to hear a message from a retired cop telling what they shouldn't do and what they should be careful of.
"Think it's another thing altogether to get that message from someone who had been an international player who had fallen from grace who is saying 'please don't do what I did, please don't succumb in the way that I did'. I think that's a very powerful message."