The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) anti-corruption unit (ACU) is hoping to publicly identify a corruption mastermind in New Delhi soon, based on pieces of evidence gathered from players and officials.
The ACU believes that most cricket corruption cases around the world can be linked back to 10 or 12 individuals working as bookies in India, according to The Telegraph report.
Once the unit identifies the fixer, the ICC will use article 2.4.9 of the code of conduct under which known corruptors will have their names and mugshots along with their aliases uploaded on the ICC’s website. It will then become a punishable offence for any player or official covered by the ICC’s code to associate with that individual.
“Most of these jobs will be started by 10 or 12 corruptors we know very well. Even though at the start of an investigation those people will not feature, and there will be a new person acting as an intermediary making approach to a player, when we dig into it we will find it is one of that group of corruptors using a different name or new phone,” ACU general manager Alex Marshall told The Telegraph report.
“We will look to have that person named as an excluded person and then anyone in cricket who has had fair warning and associates with him will be in trouble. That is not the purpose of it but if we have a number of allegations identifying one person we will start the process of excluding them. We are doing the first one or two right now,” he further said.
Fixers are now thinking imaginatively amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has forced corruptors to think imaginatively, notably faking a tournament, the Uva T20 League, in Sri Lanka which was actually being held in Sawara Village in Mohali.
“They said it was in Sri Lanka but it was in India and they tried to run an entire cricket tournament that did not actually exist by publishing pictures of a ground the dressed up as if it was in Sri Lanka with advertising and everything, but was in India and was raided by the police,” Marshall said. He said that players who are from poorer countries and whose wages have been affected by the pandemic are the chief targets.
“If you are offering a Zimbabwe player $10,000-30,000 — and by the way almost always the young poor black Zimbabwe players report immediately to us — that is the equivalent of buying a house,” said Marshall.
Marshall said that he is delighted with the number of players coming forward with evidence. The ACU is currently investigating 42 live cases around the world.
“We are the only global sport to go after the corruptors outside our code. We will pursue all the corruptors we come across and we are interviewing people not covered by our code. When we come to publicising details of excluded people we will have to decide what we make public. I will be asking for mugshots, a good clear recent picture, full name and all their aliases but I will have to put that through the lawyers about how much information can go out,” said Marshall.
“The first ones going through the system now are the most persistent corruptors we have been dealing with over the past few years. The purpose is to out these people and make their lives very difficult because they will get lots of publicity about being a cricket corruptor and hopefully that will stop them,” he said.
Buoyant RCB take on KKR
After winning two out of their first two matches, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) would look to make it three out of three when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their next encounter at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Sunday afternoon.
Spin will be a crucial weapon again for RCB as KKR showed their inability to cope with spin in their previous match against Mumbai Indians, giving away four wickets to leg-spinner Rahul Chahar.
RCB left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed played a crucial role on a sticky pitch in the match against SunRisers Hyderabad as he made the ball turn and forced the SRH batsmen to throw away their wickets.
With KKR also possessing a very strong spin bowling line-up, the performance of spinners from the two sides could very well decide the course of Sunday’s first match.
This will also be the first match of this season to be played in the afternoon and have a 3.30 p.m. start. Naturally, the dew factor will not come into play.
On the contrary, the latter part of the match could see the ball swing as the temperature dips.
RCB skipper Virat Kohli, who has got identical scores of 33 (29 balls) in the first two matches, will look to get his first half-century of the season.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see KKR captain Eoin Morgan, who employed his spinners to bowl five of the first six overs against MI, use spin early against the opening duo of Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal, both of whom relish the ball coming onto the bat.
KKR: Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Tim Seifert (wicketkeeper), Rahul Tripathi, Rinku Singh, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Eoin Morgan (captain), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Varun CV, Kuldeep Yadav, Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Karun Nair, Harbhajan Singh, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer, Pawan Negi.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), Devdutt Padikkal, Finn Allen (wicket-keeper), AB de Villiers (wicket-keeper), Pavan Deshpande, Washington Sundar, Daniel Sams, Yuzvendra Chahal, Adam Zampa, Shahbaz Ahmed, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Kane Richardson, Harshal Patel, Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Kyle Jamieson, Daniel Christian, Suyash Prabhudessai, K.S. Bharat.
Match starts at 3.30 p.m.
BCCI assured of visas to Pak team, media for T20 World Cup
The Indian cricket board (BCCI) has got the approval for visas for the Pakistan cricket team as well as the media for the upcoming T20 World Cup that will be held in India in October-December, it was announced at BCCI’s Apex Council meeting on Friday.
However, this wouldn’t yet break the deadlock between the Indian and Pakistan cricket boards.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani had earlier said that they are looking for visas for not just the players and the media but also for their fans. A failure on that count from the Indian board will push them into asking the International Cricket Council (ICC) to host the tournament in UAE.
The Apex Council, however, was apprised that the Union home ministry will decide on giving visas to Pakistan fans, it has been learnt.
There had been very little doubt earlier on Pakistan cricket team getting visa. The BCCI had given enough indications. The bone of contention, however, had been visas to media and fans which the Pakistan board had demanded.
While there has been a thaw in political relations between the two countries in recent times which has led to some Pakistan sportspersons arriving in India and competing, letting in Pakistan fans for the T20 World Cup could also depend on the Covid-19 situation in the country at the time.
Sports events haven’t seen overseas spectators since the pandemic began and recently, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo Olympic Games organisation committee have decided on not allowing overseas spectators to the Olympic Games which begin on July 23 this year.
With rising Covid-19 cases in India, it is unlikely a decision on fans will be taken any time soon by the ministry.
As many as 14 items were discussed in the Apex Council meeting.
One of the items (Item No. 13) concerned inclusion of cricket in Los Angeles Olympic Games.
The Board hasn’t yet reached a decision on it yet, though in principle they have agreed to sending a team to the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Further discussions will be done with the Indian Olympic Association.
Among other issues discussed was the status of the new National Cricket Academy premises (Item No. 6 on the agenda), the 2021-22 domestic cricket season (Item No. 9) and the organisation of T20 leagues tournaments by Tamil Nadu, Mumbai, Karnataka and Saurashtra.
While it has been learnt that the council was told the 2021-22 domestic cricket tournaments will happen as they have happened in the past on schedule, a final decision will be made later going by the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the country.
I had tears when Zak sir called my name: MI’s Yudhvir Charak
Mumbai Indians pace bowler Yudhvir Singh Charak says he had tears flowing down his cheeks the moment bowling head coach Zaheer Khan “raised the paddle” after his name was called during the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction on February 18 this year.
“I knew that if my name came up, it would be among the last names. If not, I was okay with it. We all were sitting; me, my family, our eyes fixed on the television. Then, when my name came up and when Zak sir (Zaheer Khan) raised the paddle, tears started flowing down my cheeks,” recalled Charak in a video posted by Mumbai Indians on Twitter.
“I can’t express how unbelievable that feeling was. It (MI selection) was a really big deal for me and for my state (Jammu and Kashmir). They (J&K team-mates) had very high hopes that I will play a match and do well take our state to new heights,” said the right-arm bowler, who was with the team as a support bowler in UAE.
Charak, who has represented Hyderabad in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and competed in several age-group tournaments, was picked at a base price of Rs 20 lakh.
MI team manager Rahul Sanghvi said that, “We are always good at picking uncapped players with talent, which we have done this year as well by choosing Yudhvir and Arjun (Tendulkar). Both were part of our support players group in the IPL in UAE. The coaches were satisfied that these guys will fulfil the role we were looking at and we picked them.”
Zaheer said, “So, we have Yudhvir, who we are looking forward to. This environment has been benefiting everyone who has been part of it. We encourage them to enjoy the atmosphere, enjoy the moment and learn as they go along.”
For Charak, it is more about learning from a team that has won five IPL titles than anything else. “This is the start of my careerat a high level. I’ll get to learn a lot from the senior players. They would have selected me with some role in mind. So, I want to do the best for my team. And learn as best as I can. They are the five-time IPL champions.”
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