BCCI ACU To Investigate Match-Fixing Approach Towards Women’s Team And TNPL

By Dhanu Delphi on September 18, 2019

The BCCI Anti-Corruption Unit will have its hands full over the next few weeks as the ACU will look into two reported incidents involving an attempt to fix matches with the women’s cricket team and the Tamil Nadu Premier League.

Attempt To Fix Women’s ODI Matches in 2019

Indian cricket has been tarnished with match-fixing allegations over the last two decades. But, the women’s cricket team has stayed out of it. Little attention has been paid on possible max-fixing in the women’s field. However, that’s changed as there has been a growing interest in women’s cricket in India with stars like Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur making a name for themselves.

It appears match-fixers turned their attention to women’s cricket now that women’s cricket is getting more TV coverage. One of the cricketers in the women’s team filed a complaint with the BCCI over an approach by two individuals who wanted her to play according to the script during the ODI home series against England held in February 2019.

The report filed by the cricketer states Jitendra Kothari approached her when she was going through her recovery sessions. He claimed he was a sports manager of a number of well-known female cricketers. Once the introduction was made, Kothari introduced her to Rakesh Bafna who then approached her about fixing matches. The fixing would be based on the script they would give her.

The cricketer also recorded phone conversations with one of the two match-fixers. She handed the calls over to the BCCI. The ACU has filed a first information report with the authorities in Bangalore and will investigate the matter.

BCCI ACU head Ajit Singh Shekhawat stated that this recent approach should put India’s women cricketers on guard. She noted they now know that match-fixers are also interested in fixing women’s cricket matches.

Multiple Approaches During TNPL   

The Tamil Nadu Premier League is a domestic T20 tournament featuring 8 teams, organized by the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association. It took place between July 19 and August 15, 2019. Players report that multiple attempts were made by match-fixers to get them to fix games.

A formal complaint was lodged with the BCCI. It stated more than 7 players were approached during the duration of the tournament. The BCCI ACU will also launch an investigation into these claims. They have clarified the investigation will not look into the 7 players but the individuals who approached them and tried to get them to fix matches.

The TNPL has received considerable attention as the T20 tournament was promoted by top cricketers including Chennai captain MS Dhoni. Cricketers who promoted the TNPL include A Rayudu, Shane Watson, M Hussey, Brett Lee, and M Hayden.

The TNPL attracts the top cricketing talent in the state of Tamil Nadu which include the likes of R Ashwin, M Vijay, W Sundar, D Karthik, A Mukund, and Vijay Shankar. Star India which is the biggest cricket broadcaster in the world telecasted the TNPL in 2019.

Shekhawat did not divulge if any of the players approached during the TNPL represented the Indian cricket team. He also confirmed that no info was received against any of the 8 TNPL franchises and hence their owners were not under the scanner.

The TNPL which launched in 2016 did not have the coverage of the BCCI ACU during the first three editions of the tournament. The ACU provided cover only during the 2019 edition and these match-fixing approaches have come to light. The TNCA has also confirmed that it will appoint a committee who will look into this matter.