It is true that the advent of Twenty20 cricket and its subsequent revolution via the proliferation of franchise-based leagues around the world has done a world of good for cricketers, especially those who are far from the radar of national selection. T20 Leagues give them an opportunity to showcase their precocious skills to the cricketing folklore around the world besides also giving them financial stability.
But, despite all the aforementioned benefits, it is equally true that the proliferation of these T20 leagues also exposes the cricketers to the bookies. Obscure Twenty20 leagues work as easy fodder for the bookies and often we have seen cricketers fall prey to their advances.
Take the spot-fixing case of the Karnataka Premier League – KPL for example. And, now the Bengaluru police has revealed how a former Bengaluru Blasters batsman- M Vishwanathan- was lured into underperforming during a 2018 match against the Hubli Tigers.
Which is the match in question and who are the players involved?
The match in question is the August 31, 2018 game between the Bengaluru Blasters and Hubli Tigers in Mysuru where a former opening batsman- M Vishwanathan- was tasked by the bookies to underperform with the bat. According to a probe done by the Bengaluru police, as reported by the Indian Express, Vishwanathan was asked by the bookmakers to bat slowly and score less than 10 runs in 20 balls against the Tigers.
The former opening batsman- Vishwanathan- was arrested last week along with his bowling coach- Vinu Prasad, for receiving a sum of Rs 5 Lakh for ‘slow batting’ during the match-up. Talking about the match, M Vishwanathan duly obliged to the bookie demands as he scored a painstaking 17-ball 9 but that, however, did not come in way of his side chasing the target of 118 and eventually winning the match by six wickets.
So, what were the signals used by the players involved in KPL?
Every spot-fixing scandal case in the past has seen the involved players using some sort of signals like throwing a towel or doing some sort of sign with their hands. Remember Mohammad Amir or S Sreesanth? So, what did Vishwanathan do to signal to the bookies?
According to the Bengaluru police, the opening batsman signaled for a change of bat after eight balls had been bowled and after the third over had been bowled, the batsman proceeded to roll his sleeves.
According to a report in the Indian Express, the Bengaluru Police was quoted saying, “The change of bat and the lifting of the sleeves were pre-determined signals that had been agreed upon by the bookies and the player. Multiple bookies were involved in the fixing incidents and the names of several bookies have come up and they are being investigated.”
The KPL betting scandal has seen a lot of prominent names come under the scanner. In the past two months, Belagavi Panthers owner Ali Asfak Thara and drummer Bhavesh Bafna who has played drums in leagues like TNPL, IPL have been arrested by the Bengaluru central crime branch.
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