Net fix: TNPL under Anti-Corruption Unit's scanner
CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu cricket is on national headlines. Once again for the wrong reasons. The BCCI has opened an investigation after several players who featured in Tamil Nadu Premier League said they had been approached by unscrupulous persons. BCCI’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) is in touch with Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA).
It is understood that activities of at least one of the eight teams are under investigation. BCCI’s ACSU has received at least a dozen complaints from players who featured in the 2019 edition of the TNPL played in Dindigul, Tirunelvelli and Chennai between July 19-August 15. Along with ACSU, headed by Ajit Singh, TNCA has also launched similar proceedings after being apprised of the incident by the BCCI. It has formed a three-member committee including a former police officer, a senior lawyer and a former India cricketer who will table a report.
“ACSU which was monitoring TNPL received information from several players that approaches were made through unknown numbers. As per protocols, the players reported it and we are tracking who these numbers belong to. Names of some of the players are doing the rounds, but there is no proof yet,” Singh told this daily.
Sources in the ACSU revealed that one match from the 2018 season, where a team successfully defended a paltry total, is under the radar of the ACSU. This is a match that raised widespread suspicion in Tamil Nadu cricketing circles. Another team is also believed to be under investigation. The TNCA, however, has not been told about these two. It has only been informed about concerns reported by players from the 2019 edition.
“Last season, a couple of players received messages on WhatsApp from unknown numbers. They reported the incident to me, and we immediately brought this to the notice of the anti-corruption personnel. No player was approached this year. Since we have a lot of youngsters, we put emphasis on educating them about the spirit and integrity of the game in each team meeting,” said Shyam Kangayan, the CEO of Ruby Trichy Warriors.
While speculation is rife that an India player too is under radar, it is reliably learnt that the focus is on a couple of players who have played first-class cricket and been part of IPL teams in the past. It is understood that even before the three-member panel was formed by the league’s governing council chairman PS Raman, TNPL was sceptical about one of the teams which is alleged to have been involved in match-fixing. Although the BCCI and TNCA are concentrating mostly on one team at the moment, several players who spoke to this newspaper alleged that more are involved. In fact, a couple of prominent players from the state even spoke to their respective team owners about worrying patterns that emerged from the previous season. They also said these things were discussed frequently by the players. They took the field only after being given assurances. Incidentally, a prominent coach who has worked with high-profile sides is also under the scanner.