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Matchfixing watchdogs keeping close eye on women's T20 World Cup

The global cricket community's gaze will soon be fixed on Australia for the women's Twenty20 World Cup, including its most nefarious members.

The White Ferns will be in Australia for the tournament. Source: Photosport

The T20 World Cup starts next Friday with a clash between defending champions Australia and rivals India at Sydney Olympic Park.

It ends on March 8, International Women's Day, in front of what tournament organisers hope will be a jam-packed crowd at the MCG that sets a new world record for female-sport attendance.

The development of women's cricket and spike in popularity, unfolding at different rates around the world, is a remarkable story.

And it is one that the International Cricket Council's top cop Alex Marshall confirms has been followed with keen interest by fixers.

"Corruption will always come along and follow the positive story. It's the dark side of cricket," Marshall, head of the ICC's anti-corruption unit, told AAP during an interview last year.

"They (corruptors) are now actively looking at women's cricket. Whereas previously, women's cricket wasn't a target.

"Players have to realise they are now targets.

"That's how corruptors operate, they just look for the least line of resistance and the best reward.

"They think it might be a slightly easier route than the men's game and we've got to prove them wrong.

"We've got to make sure it is just as resistant. The early signs are good."

Marshall has been working with several Australian agencies, including law enforcement and anti-corruption, for a long time leading up to this year's T20 World Cup.

Match-fixing in Australia is a crime, while the prospect of fixers being denied entry is also at play.

"When we already have information, and we're normally pretty good at getting their full name and passport details, then we'll pass those on to law enforcement and immigration officials in Australia," Marshall said.

"They've got a really good track record of - for example, when we pass on information about a known corruptor they will exclude them from the country or see them exited."

Underground betting markets are part of an over-arching concern but the challenge confronting Marshall's unit regarding women's cricket, likewise associate and under-19 cricket, is obvious.

The size of a carrot being dangled by a fixer or intermediary in front of a player who is poorly paid or not paid at all, compared to Australia's professionals, is juicier.

For that target, the protection and education on offer is unlikely to be as thorough.

And the stick wielded by some national boards without the same anti-corruption processes and resources as Cricket Australia, which memorably came down on Emily Smith like a ton of bricks over an Instagram prank while admitting she had no intent to breach the relevant code, is not nearly as severe.

The yield might be lower for a fixer compared to a men's Test, but the risks are also lower.

"Our work in the women's game is all about making sure women are protected to the same degree as men," Marshall said.

"All the top-level women's teams in international cricket have received anti- corruption education several times and there's a decent level of awareness.

"Their boards understand it, their chief executives understand it ... we speak to lots of the under-19 and under-17 squads, so that right from the start they get the idea about how the corruptors will try to get them.

"We (anti-corruption officers) think we've got good relationships with them."

Marshall is a life-long cricket fan who started a policing career in 1980 before joining the ICC in 2017.

The former senior British officer revealed last month - close to the 20th anniversary of the fixed Centurion Test which led to Hansie Cronje being banned from the sport for life - that his anti-corruption unit is investigating 50 cases of possible wrongdoing.

The ICC has the power to seize players' phones and download call and messaging records.

Failure to cooperate with an investigation, which was one of suspended Sri Lanka legend Sanath Jayasuriya's two anti-corruption charges in 2018, can result in a two-year ban.

Even for those corruptors operating outside the ICC's remit, Marshall will not stop his pursuit.

"I'll tell immigration about them. I'll tell law enforcement, tax authorities ... I'll stop them coming to the World Cup," he said.

"If they have a job, I will tell their employer about them.

"I'll do everything I possibly can to disrupt their lives."