Reuters | Thu May 6, 2010 | 7:26 pm IST
Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif has been told that "a large number" of matches in the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) were fixed. "I’ve personally been told by some ICL players that a large number of matches in that league were definitely fixed," Latif said in an email to Reuters. "Even in the IPL (Indian Premier League), every now and again you watch a match and feel that there is something odd happening." The governing body of Indian cricket dismissed Latif’s allegations on Thursday when made aware of them by Reuters. "BCCI rubbishes these allegations. We will not even react to this sort of allegation. It is totally rubbish," N. Srinivasan, Secretary of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said.
The unofficial ICL included a Twenty20 World Series tournament comprising mostly former international players. Unlike the lucrative IPL Twenty20 series, it was not sanctioned by the International Cricket Council and most of its players were banned by their national boards. The 2008-09 World Series was abandoned after the attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 and there have been no matches since. Latif, 41, played 37 tests for Pakistan between 1992 and 2003 but is better known for his outspoken campaign against corruption in cricket. He gave evidence to the inquiry held by Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum into match-fixing after which Pakistan captain Salim Malik was banned for life in 2000. Two other international captains, South Africa’s Hansie Cronje and India’s Mohammed Azharuddin, were also banned for life for match-fixing.
Latif said the amount of money available in Twenty20 cricket was damaging the game. "There also is a worry that players are being paid so much, situations may arise where ultimately the result doesn’t matter to them," he said in Wednesday’s e-mail. "These are not clubs who have discovered them or groomed them these are clubs that simply pay them a lot of money. There is little loyalty. There are so many games in an IPL season — with more to come with new franchises — that the number of dead, irrelevant games will increase and this is where bookies thrive. Who knows what their reach is? If the owner of a franchise is approached and promised good money for his team to lose an irrelevant game, he tells his players to lose the game and they don’t care because they get paid huge amounts anyway. The stake is so high who would blow the whistle? In any case the IPL was resistant to the presence of the anti-corruption unit at the first season of the IPL. Why? Cricket has been damaged before when too much money has floated around the game and it can be damaged again. Ultimately, in this kind of environment, where controls are loose, regulation is weak, there is enough money floating about to make people weaker and prone to looking the other way, it is not so difficult to see the dangers that are present. It would be foolish not to see them."