Match-fixing has been the hot topic around the cricketing world ever since Pakistan trio, Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt, and Mohammad Asif were found guilty of it in November 2011.
However, since then, there has been an increased number of claims that certain matches have been fixed, with the most famous being the India-Pakistan 2011 World Cup semi-final match.
According to The Sunday Times, a UK based national paper, small-time Bollywood actress Nupur Mehta, was used to lure cricketers to get involved in the trade.
But, Mehta, denied the accusations by The Sunday Times, stating: “I don’t know any cricketer personally and I was at my home on the day the match was played.”
However, there has been a recent development in the ongoing investigation into the trade, as Liza Malik, another Bollywood actress, revealed that a UK-based bookie, called Razzak, offered her 5 million rupees to get him in contact with one of the top Indian cricketers in the fourth edition of the IPL, which was held in May 2011.
Malik, knew the cricketer through a reality show the pair had been partners on together.
“I was shooting in Thailand in May last year for an advertisement when Razzak started calling. He wanted me to arrange a meeting with the cricketer. He offered me Rs.50 lakh but I refused, when I was rude with him he threatened me” she said.
Malik, also filed a complaint at the Oshiwara Police Station in Mumbai, but the case did not go anywhere.
An investigation by India Today, who talked to some of the biggest and well-known bookies in Mumbai, led them to find out that many Pakistani, Indian and Sri Lankan cricketers were involved in match-fixing, due to their cricket boards not paying them enough money.
According to their investigation, it was revealed that Pakistan cricketers could be lured with only 5 million rupees, while Indian cricketers were only convinced with 100 million rupees.
During the trial of Mohammad Asif in London, the public prosecutor of the case informed the court that betting was a growing trade in Asia, with a net value of $40 billion.
One bookie from Thane, Mumbai, said that Indian cricketers would usually agree to match-fixing, if they could have sex with beautiful women. This was also true in the fourth edition of the IPL, where, according to the bookie, a right-hand spinner, a left-hand batsman, a left-hand medium pacer and an all-rounder, were highly interested in sleeping with models.
He also said that nearly 80% of the matches in the second and fourth edition of the IPL had been fixed.
However, another bookie stated that he would never approach prominent Indian players, since they earn a lot of money through their endorsement deals. “No bookie can dare approach top players like Sachin Tendulkar, M.S. Dhoni, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag due to their integrity. Some newcomers are also honest” he said.
The India Times, also talked exclusively with another anonymous bookie, who told them of relations between an Ulhasnagar-based bookie Deepak Narayani, who went by the alias of Deepu Balaji’s and a high ranking cricketer from Mumbai. The pair, allegedly fixed three ODI matches three years ago, were both arrested by Ulhasnagar police on charges for betting, but, Narayani, claim that this is false.
The India Times, also found out that Ulhasnagar, had started to become a major hub in the past few years.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Amar Jadhav, who broke up a betting racket in 2010, explained that bookies in Mumbai, were taking advantage of Indian students studying in the UK. “Betting in sport is legal in the UK but one has to have a local bank account to operate it. Hence, bookies access the bank accounts of Indian students studying in the UK. They pay them Rs.50,000 per month and use their bank account to route hawala transactions” he said.
With the continuous claims and new information about match-fixing being exposed all the time, the International Cricket Council (ICC), will be looking to tackle the growing problem and restore the tarnished reputation that has left an ugly scar on the face of cricket.