Reigniting the issue of match fixing and it’s connection with the underworld, two former Indian captains, Kapil Dev and Dilip Vengsarkar, admitted that Dawood Ibrahim visited the team’s dressing room in Sharjah during the Sharjah Cup in 1987.
Not only did he visit the Indian players, but also offered to gift a Toyota car each to the players and officials if India managed to win the 4 nation tournament that featured Pakistan, Australia and England besides India.
“Dawood had said: ‘If you guys win the tournament, I will give all of you a Toyota car each,” – Dilip Vengsarkar said at a function. However, the former Indian batsman quickly added that the “offer” was unanimously rejected by the entire team.
Meanwhile, India’s 1983 World Cup winning captain, Kapil Dev too admitted that he remembered the visit from the most wanted criminal but said that he was unaware of his identity.
“Yes, I remember a gentleman walking into our dressing room in a game in Sharjah and wanting to talk to the players,” Kapil Dev was quoted.
Not only these former cricketers, Jaywant Lele, the former BCCI secretary, who passed away in Baroda last month also revealed about the incident of Dawood’s visit in his book – ‘I was There — Memoirs of a Cricket Administrator’.
However, like Kapil Dev, he also maintained that they weren’t aware that the man was Dawood Ibrahim.
“After a long gap, we came to know that the man who met us in Sharjah in 1987 was Dawood Ibrahim, the alleged mastermind of the dastardly Mumbai blasts in 1993,” - Lele wrote.
Incidentally, India lost the tournament and Australia were declared champions on the basis of a higher run rate, as Australia, England and India were leveled at equal points.