TV sting claims spot-fixing, black money rife in Indian cricket

IPL players TP Sudhindra, Shalabh Srivastava, Amit Yadav and Mohnish Mishra have been caught on tape making sensational claims about the IPL.

Shalabh Srivastava (back) played for KXIP last season. A news channel on Monday claimed to have blown the lid off a spot-fixing racket in domestic cricket in India.

India TV said it had conducted a sting operation on many cricketers, who confessed on camera to their indiscretions: spot-fixing, negotiating terms for IPL team transfers and revealing details of payments made to them by IPL teams, which violate BCCI's salary grade rules. 

The channel claimed that at the insistence of one of its reporters, pace bowler TP Sudhindra had spot-fixed a no-ball in a domestic match. Sudhindra is playing for Deccan Chargers in IPL5.

Sudhindra is shown agreeing to bowl a no-ball second ball of his first over in a corporate tournament match in exchange for Rs 20,000. The match was broadcast on Doordarshan. Sudhindra's no-ball was a massive one; his back-foot was close to the popping crease. It took the commentators by surprise.

India TV also claimed that Shalabh Srivastava demanded Rs 10 lakh for fixing a no-ball in an IPL match. Srivastava had played for Kings XI Punjab last in 2011.

'Resolving IPL graft charges a challenge for BCCI'

The grainy footage shot with hidden cameras showed Sudhindra and KXIP all-rounder Amit Yadav speaking with shocking candour about spot-fixes and under-performing for cash.

Srivastava, 30, who has played two seasons of first-class cricket for Uttar Pradesh, denied the charge and threatened to take the TV channel to court.

"The voice which suggests that I am ready to spot-fix is not mine," he told the Indian Express newspaper. "I am ready to clarify this to the BCCI, my team owners and the IPL governing council."

"I will definitely file a case against them."

Sudhindra and Srivastava had played in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League before being given amnesty by the BCCI.

India TV’s investigation revealed that IPL players are being paid more than the payment slabs prescribed by the BCCI.

Pune Warriors’ Mohnish Mishra said he had been paid Rs 1.45 crore as opposed to the Rs. 30 lakh he should have got. Mishra said Rs 45 lakh was paid to him through legitimate means, while Rs 1 crore was given to him in ‘black’.

A reporter posed to be a representative of Mumbai Indians and approached Mishra. The reporter proposed a move to Mumbai for the young cricketer and asked him how much was to be paid to him in ‘black’ if his total price were to be Rs 2 crore.

Mishra is seen discussing the modalities of the payments made to him by Sahara, who own Pune Warriors. Sahara called India TV to deny having made payments off the book to Mishra.

It has been an open secret that some cricketers are paid more by their IPL franchises than what they claim publicly. On paper, Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni's income is said to be USD 1.8 million. But there’s no limit to what Chennai can additionally pay him in order to retain him.

BCCI president and Chennai Super Kings owner N. Srinivasan has reacted along expected lines by insisting that "the IPL is clean". The IPL governing council is set for an emergency meeting on Tuesday morning.

Srinivasan said: "We will ensure that the integrity of the game is protected. BCCI believes in the integrity of the game. We will take the strictest possible action. We will have to have the tapes and the moment we see it, whoever is the player, we will take very very strict action."

"If there is any truth in it... It is a fact that we will take strictest action. Even if it means suspending the player immediately. But (that has to be) based on some evidence and fact, for which I have asked the COO of IPL Sundar Raman to request for the tape."

"IPL, we believe is clean. We have got the Anti- Corruption Unit covering it. They are the in-chanrge of the security. We have got Ravi Swami, who was heading BCCI's Anti-Corruption Unit to take it up for us."

"People can make allegations. But if there is any shred of evidence, we will take action."

Last year, Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were jailed in Britain for their role in a spot-fixing scandal relating to a Test match against England at Lord's in August 2010.

The spot-fixing scam, which shook the cricketing world, came to light after a British newspaper recorded sports agent Mazhar Majeed boasting of how he could arrange for players to rig games for money.

The International Cricket Council subsequently banned the three players for a minimum of five years.

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