KARACHI: An Indian private television channel, on Monday, aired a video and published a reported on its website, where it claims to have carried out a sting operation revealing the involvement of umpires from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in match-fixing.
The report by India TV names Pakistani umpires Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui; Bangladeshi umpire Nadir Shah and Sri Lankan umpires Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage among those who agreed to reveal crucial information and ‘fix’ umpiring decisions in exchange for money.
ICC seeks evidence
The International Cricket Council, in a statement released late Monday, said that it has asked the channel to provide any proof showing the involvement of its officials in the corruption of the game.
“The ICC and its relevant members have been made aware of the allegations made by India TV this evening and calls on the station to turnover any information which can assist the ICC’s urgent investigations into this matter,” cricket’s governing body said.
“The ICC confirms that none of the umpires named were involved in any of the official games of the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.”
Pakistani umpires named
“Nadeem Ghauri agreed to help Team India in all manners. As quid pro quo, he agreed to take all amounts underhand in “black.” He promised to do any kind of favour for any player in umpiring,” the report said of the Pakistani umpire, who is part of the ICC international panel of umpires.
Ghauri, a former cricketer from Lahore, has officiated five Test matches, four Twenty20 internationals and 43 one-day international matches. He began his umpiring career in 2000 and last officiated in Pakistan’s limited-overs series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates in 2010.
Of Anees Siddiqui, the report said: “Anees Siddiqui was also ready to get a decision in favour of Team India in lieu of money. He told the undercover India TV reporter that he wanted the entire amount in ‘black.’ Anees promised that he would manage the Pakistan Cricket Board to accept a decision favourable to India.”
Siddiqui is on Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) elite panel of umpires and has been officiating since 2008.
Sri Lankan involvement
The report goes on to say that Sri Lanka’s Gallage agreed to give information regarding pitch and conditions, toss and team sheets prior to the final of the Sri Lankan Premier League final played last month.
“For a payment of Rs 50,000, Sagara agreed to reveal the match pitch report, weather report, toss report, and even the playing elevens of both teams,” the report claims.
Galage, according to the report, also promised to give Pakistan batsman Imran Nazir out, even if he was not out, in exchange of money in Sri Lankan Premier League.
The Sri Lankan umpire was part of the official panel of the Pakistan-India match during the per-tournament warm up stages of the recently concluded ICC World Twenty20 2012.
The report says that Galage “promised the undercover reporter to get a decision made in favour of India in course of the match by ‘managing’ the match referee and other officials.” New Zealand’s Billy Bowden and England’s Nigel Long were the on-field umpires for the September 17 match.
Umpires were suspicious of offer
Pertinently, cricket website ESPNCricinfo has said that it was approached by two of the six named umpires, who said that they were in talks with a “sports management company” which had offered them generous deals for being part of an upcoming cricket tournament. Interestingly, the umpires held online video conversations with the said company and while the umpires had their cameras on and were showing their faces, the “company” representatives chose to hide their identity and held the conversation without showing their faces.
This report also adds that one of the umpires had suspected the intentions of this deal and the company behind it.
Reports in the Pakistani media have questioned the exclusion of Indian umpires from this sting operation, while accusations have been made that it may be an attempt to malign the Pakistani officials.
In May, the same television channel’s sting operation prompted the Indian cricket board to ban one uncapped cricketer for life and hand out lesser punishments to four others for involvement in corruption in domestic cricket.