|A file photo of Bangladeshi cricketer Abdur Razzak gesturing towards umpire Nadir Shah as he celebrates a wicket. Shah is among the six umpires — Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui of Pakistan, Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage of Sri Lanka — who according to a TV sting were willing to fix T20 matches
In November 2011, Lalit Modi had tweeted: “It’s not only Players that fix matches - Sometimes there are Umpires Too in connivance with Administrators. Again..these reports are buried.”
On Monday, India TV dug up some ‘uncomfortable truths’ about umpires. Some cricket boards might use this latest controversy to push the case of DRS, as one form of deterrent, to India, who have steadfastly opposed it.
The sting operations showed six umpires on camera, discussing how an umpire can affect the outcome of a match. If players can be involved, why not the umpires? Is anyone really shocked anymore?
This latest revelation is just another dagger drawn at innocence and morality that only the really naïve associate with this game of cricket. Of course now, Darrell Hair, a former umpire, has raised fingers at Modi’s baby, the IPL itself, as a major source of corruption for umpires.
Hair nailed it when he said, “It all comes down to two things: opportunity and greed. If you’re the type of person and you’re given the opportunity, the greedy part of you will say, ‘Yeah, I’m in’.”
Mirror tried to contact a couple of former cricketers who have been implicated in various forms in the whole fixing saga. Manoj Prabhakar had once even conducted a sting operation of his own. Yesterday all he offered was his refusal.
“There is no use talking about all this now. I am over all this now as I see there is no use.” Ditto Nayan Mongia, who also refused to comment on the issue. Meanwhile, the elephant in the room is slowly waking up.
The International Cricket Council has launched an “urgent investigation” following these allegations by the television channel. That term “Zero tolerance” was also trotted out.
“The ICC and its relevant members have been made aware of the allegations made by India TV and calls on the station to turn over any information which can assist the ICC’s urgent investigations into this matter,” the ICC said in a statement. “The ICC re-iterates its zero-tolerance toward corruption whether alleged against players or officials.”
In Denial mode
The umpires involved, meanwhile, have denied the allegations, while the Bangladesh Cricket Board issued a statement saying the allegations would be part of a detailed inquiry. The latest allegations come almost a year after Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were jailed for their roles in a betting scam during a Test series against England in 2010. Some of the “revelations” by the umpires do appear relatively harmless.
Sagar Gallage, a fourth umpire who officiated in the warm-up game between India and Pakistan ahead of the World T20, allegedly passed on information about the weather and wicket to undercover reporters in lieu of money.
Another umpire Maurice Winston from Sri Lanka, who was the third official in the warm-up game between England and Australia, was accused by India TV of sharing the pitch report, toss report, and playing line-ups of both teams 90 minutes before the match in exchange for 50,000 Sri Lankan rupee ($380). Others are more damaging.
Asked to re-confirm his intent to give wrong verdicts, Sri Lanka’s Gamini Dissanayake reportedly says, “Again you are talking about it. I told you, summarise this, I told you we are agreed. Don’t worry about it. You don’t think about it.” ICC have now said they are indeed worrying about it.
But it’s difficult to throw away the cynicism. Can the ICC really do something? Will their investigation lead to any results? And will India now agree to DRS or see it as a mutually exclusive issue?
► If you’re the type of person and you’re given the opportunity, the greedy part of you will say, ‘Yeah, I’m in’
- Darrell Hair former International umpire
Open to probe: Gamini
Gamini Dissanayaka, one of three local umpires implicated by India TV over a match fixing inquiry outrightly rejected the accusation yesterday. “I reject all allegations. This is an attack on the entire Sri Lankan umpiring fraternity by an external force,” Dissanayaka said. He said that he had already written to local cricket authorities and is open to thorough investigation in order to prove his innocence. The channel named Dissanayaka and two of his colleagues Sagara Gallage and Winston de la Zilwa as having allegedly consented for match-fixing during the just concluded world T20 championshp.
BCCI to wait and watch
The BCCI said that it would wait for the ICC to complete its investigations on the television sting operation on umpires who were allegedly willing to fix T20 matches for money. The board said that since no Indian umpire was involved it would wait for the probe to be completed. “The ICC has to take a call on it. They will be taking appropriate action. As far as we are concerned we will take action as we deem fit,” senior BCCI official Rajeev Shukla said. “Our job is to keep the game clean. The BCCI takes strong and immediate action whenever such cases come up.”
SL studying allegations
Sri Lankan cricket officials meanwhile say they are studying tapes of a television sting operation. Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive Ajith Jayasekara said on Tuesday there has been no official communication from the International Cricket Council on allegations by India TV that Sri Lankans were among six international umpires willing to fix matches. He said the local anti-corruption unit will work with the ICC in the investigations. The ICC said it has launched an investigation and called on the channel to provide the footage.
Kamal to be ICC VP
The ICC on Tuesday accepted the nomination of Bangladesh’s Mustafa Kamal for the post of its vice-president from 2012 to 2014. The ICC took the decision of elevating Kamal at its Board meeting in Colombo. Kamal will now be required to step down from the post of president of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). “The ICC Board accepted the joint nomination of Pakistan Cricket Board and BCB of Mustafa Kamal to the role of ICC Vice-President for 2012- 14 and then subsequently as President 2014-15,” the ICC said in a statement.