The Indian cricket fraternity received multiple shocks as several reports of match-fixing related incidents emerged on Monday. After a few players and coaches associated with one of the franchises of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) came under the scanner of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), a Indian women's cricket team player reported that she was approached by two bookies to fix matches. At the center of both these investigations is ACU chief Ajit Singh Shekhawat. A day after both these incidents emerged, Shekhawat said that big names like MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli will never fall prey to bookies as they have "more to lose than gain". He also added that "they can't sacrifice their reputation for such things".
Speaking to IANS, the ACU chief said that it is the younger and more often than not the unsuccessful players who get lured into these things as they are either unaware of what is happening -- in case of youngsters -- or the money is too big to ignore.
"If you ask me, today in cricket, a star has much more to lose than gain if he gets involved in this. Imagine a Virat Kohli or Dhoni getting into this. Things don't just move by money, it is also the reputation that counts. They can't sacrifice their reputation for such things. They are far bigger than all this.
"Even if you are talking just in financial terms, do you think they will get involved -- both in terms of the endorsement that they get because of their reputation and star power, as also the other benefits that they get.
"Betting wouldn't give them a small percentage of that money," he explained.
"These people (fixers and bookies) are looking at whatever opportunities they can get. If they can't get into any tournament, they start their own leagues. They are now moving to new countries and in the name of promoting the sport, they organise tournaments and get teams. They pretend to be working for the game.
"You can't stop someone from organising a tournament because this is a free country. But what BCCI can do is say this is not recognised so registered players won't go. Still, some young players fall for this. Sometimes, they also get players from outside to promote the league and make them ambassadors and stuff."
But the ACU chief says that the fact that they are moving outside India shows that the BCCI has been successful in their attempt to stop corruption in the game.
"Look, the thing is, it is getting difficult for them and so they have to find different ways and means as they can't carry on their business in traditional cricket. This has seen them organize leagues outside. We keep feeding ICC the information we get and they scuttled some of the tournaments like the Afghan Premier League was held only for one edition.
"The challenge before us is that majority of the corrupters are of Indian origin and they have started going out, which in turn shows that they are feeling the pressure in India and moving out which is a success for BCCI," Shekhawat added.
(With IANS inputs)
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