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Five Indian cricketers suspended after TV sting

By Harmeet Singh, CNN
updated 7:12 AM EDT, Thu May 17, 2012
Hundreds of millions of dollars are bet on matches in India's Premier League and those involving its national team.
Hundreds of millions of dollars are bet on matches in India's Premier League and those involving its national team.
  • TV sting purportedly shows five players discussing payments to bowl no-balls
  • T.P. Sudhindra, Amit Yadav, Shalabh Srivastav, Abhinav Bali and Mohnish Mishra suspended
  • Three Pakistan players were jailed in the UK last year for their part in a spot-fixing scandal

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- India's cricket board have suspended five players accused of corruption following an undercover TV probe.

The suspensions followed a TV channel's sting operation that purportedly showed the five players -- domestic first-class cricketers assigned to teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL) -- discussing money to deliberately bowl no-balls and spot-fix matches.

Spot-fixing refers to players secretly agreeing to perform an act such as a no-ball at a certain time during a match. Bets will be made with bookmakers on the basis of this information.

The players, T.P. Sudhindra, Amit Yadav, Shalabh Srivastav, Abhinav Bali and Mohnish Mishra, have been barred from playing cricket matches supervised by Indian authorities pending an inquiry, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said in a statement Tuesday.

The BCCI appointed Ravi Sawani, the former head of the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption and security unit, to lead the investigation.

Meanwhile, one of the suspended players threatened to sue the channel at the center of the allegations, India TV.

Indian cricketers accused of corruption
Cricketers found guilty of cheating

"This is a trap," Srivastav told the Times of India newspaper. "Ask them to show the video clip in which I am demanding money or I am bowling no-balls. They have just put my photograph and played some telephone recordings which have been heavily edited," the paper quoted him as saying.

However the BCCI action was backed by some.

"It was correct to suspend the players," said former Indian cricket captain Sunil Gavaskar in remarks published in the Times of India Wednesday.

"That's the least (the) BCCI could have done. You don't need players who are even contemplating doing things that they have allegedly done."

In a high profile case last year, three top Pakistani cricketers were jailed in Britain after being convicted of plotting to cheat by bowling no-balls and taking bribes in a match against England in 2010.

Player convictions not the end of the corruption story

Former national team captain Salman Butt was sentenced to 30 months and bowler Mohammad Asif to one year in prison. Fellow bowler Mohammad Amir, a rising star in the sport at the age of 19, was given a six-month jail term.

However, the epicenter of cricket betting is India, where hundreds of millions of dollars are bet on matches, according to Ehsan Mani, a former President of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Though match-fixing is rare, spot-fixing is very difficult to monitor, he said.

"The ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit is not able to access the betting odds being offered or monitor suspicious bets being placed. Unless betting is regulated in these countries it will remain very difficult to stop players being approached," he wrote in an opinion article for CNN last year.

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