At least one player involved in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy was approached by bookies during the latest edition of the premier national T20 tournament, according to BCCI president Sourav Ganguly.
The former Indian captain also said that two teams of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) have been suspended and the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) is on hold. Ganguly was speaking on the sidelines of the BCCI’s AGM about the steps being taken to curb alleged spot-fixing in cricket tournaments.
The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu was held on Sunday and some of India’s top cricketers, including R Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, K L Rahul and Manish Pandey, are among those who participated in the tournament. The tournament is also seen as an audition for youngsters with the IPL auction to be held in Kolkata on December 19.
In September, The Indian Express had reported that an India player, an IPL regular and a Ranji Trophy coach were among those who figured in an internal investigation by the BCCI’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), which found rampant corruption in the TNPL.
“Even in Syed Mushtaq Ali, I was told, one player was approached. At present, in two (state) associations where betting and fixing happened, one is on hold, the KPL, and Chennai (Tamil Nadu Cricket Association) has suspended two of the franchises,” Ganguly said.
The TNPL suspending two teams is a new development as an internal inquiry conducted by a committee set up by TNCA concluded in October that there was “no actionable incidents” in the league.
The anti-corruption unit of the BCCI will have to be strengthened if corruption across leagues continues, Ganguly said, adding that the current set-up will be evaluated next year.
”We are dealing with it, we are getting the anti-corruption system right. We have to get the best anti-corruption people and make it stronger. We will assess it, next year if it (corruption) doesn’t stop, if it doesn’t work then we will think of something else,” Ganguly said.
The Bengaluru crime branch has made a number of arrests related to alleged corruption and spot-fixing in the KPL, with the most high-profile arrest being that of former Karnataka captain C M Gautam. The owner of Belagavi Panthers, Asfak Ali Thara, was also arrested as were bookies, other players and support staff members as part of an ongoing investigation.