Amidst the shocking revelations of ‘spot fixing’ of cricket matches by Pakistani players, a top Indian bookmaker has now revealed that the December 15, 2009 India- Sri Lanka One-day match at Rajkot in India was ‘suspicious.’ “Saaf nahi tha (it wasn’t clean),” he has told Times Of India on Friday (3). The bookmaker had insisted that he is not involved in the player-bookie nexus.
In that match Sri Lanka won the toss, elected to field and India ran amok scoring 414 runs on a placid track. In reply, Sri Lanka rode on Tillakaratne Dilshan’s massive 160 and almost chased the target before falling short by 3 runs. Sri Lanka bowled 27 extras in the game, India bowled 21 and a total of 825 runs were scored at the Madhavrao Scindia ground that day.
“Sri Lanka were 401/5 with just 14 more runs needed from seven balls. The bets were coming in fast because punters wanted to balance the stakes. At the start, India looked firm favourites and there were almost no takers for a Sri Lanka win. But towards the end, it all became a frenzy,” the bookie had told TOI.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader Interim Committee Secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket, Nishantha Ranatunga said he had heard about the story but had not had any official intimation from the ICC’s Anti Corruption Unit on any such matter upto now.
“The ICC’s Anti Corruption Unit keeps a close tab on these matters and we have not heard anything about this particular match. If at all there is any substance to the claims it is not Sri Lanka Cricket but the ICC unit that will go into the matter. That is how it works,” said Ranatunga.
Meanwhile according to the TOI report, towards the end of the match in question the bookmaker had received a text message on his mobile. The sender had been a 20-year-old boy from Rajasthan who earlier used to work for him as a cleaner. He wrote: “Sab saude kaat do, aur call mat lena. India match le jar raha hai (Cancel all deals and don’t take any further bets. India is winning the game).”
The bookmaker had told TOI instinct made him listen to his former employee and he turned out right. India won by three runs.
What was behind the SMS may never be known but the bookie continues to harp on the rumour of the amount of money that was transacted that night. “I am told that money around Rs 28 crore ($ 7m) changed hands that night,” he has told TOI.
It is for the relevant authorities to try and see if there was any truth to the allegations. The bookie also went on to add a little more after his ‘fixing’ theory. “That was the last match that I heard was suspicious. I can also say that Indian players are clean. They’re among the most impeccable, especially the senior players,” he says.
With skeletons tumbling out of the Pakistan closet, it is disturbing that there is talk of a fixed game played less than a year back in India. And one man, claims he has circumstantial evidence to prove it happened.
“Baseless allegations are being made. It is upto the ICC Anti Corruption Unit to investigate these claims. We cannot comment on the matter until then,” said Ranatunga.
Attempts to contact captain Kumar Sangakkara proved futile.