A day before Rajasthan Royals plays its first match in this IPL, it has emerged that one of its players informed the BCCI’s anti-corruption team last month that he had been approached by a Ranji teammate with an offer of money if he followed a pre-decided pattern of play.
It’s learnt that the Mumbai-based RR player didn’t accept the offer from the cricketer, who is not part of the T20 league, and instead informed a senior franchise official who reported the incident to the Anti-Corruption & Security Unit (ACSU).
During questioning by ACSU sleuths, the RR player said he initially thought the player, with whom he had shared a dressing room during the Ranji Trophy, was joking.
It was only when he spoke about the chance to make money if he followed a pre-decided pattern, that he realised that the approach was serious, the player told the ACSU. According to procedure, the BCCI top officials were informed about the approach.
When contacted, ACSU chief Ravi Sawani declined to comment.
This pre-season episode contains shades of the IPL’s spot-fixing scandal of 2013 which led to the arrests of three RR cricketers, including former Test player S Sreesanth.
The scandal also saw the Supreme Court get involved and force the then board president and Chennai Super Kings team owner N Srinivasan to step down from his role after his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was found guilty of cricket betting.
Interestingly, in the run-up to the eighth edition of the IPL this time, Rahul Dravid, former India captain and mentor of Rajasthan Royals, had called for exemplary punishment to tackle fixing.
“One of the most important things is we need to have stricter laws that deal with issues like match-fixing, spot-fixing. And we need to have those laws in place that in the long term can act as a deterrent,” Dravid said. “There are consequences in cricket (for wrongdoing) and you pay the price.”
On Friday, Royals take on Kings XI Punjab in Pune.