Last year, IPL’s governing council suspended five IPL players, who were allegedly implicated for spot fixing by a TV sting. Ever since, the BCCI apparently has beefed up its radar on match fixing. However, a Chennai-based bookie alleges that betting and sometimes, even its sibling, fixing, are still rampant.
According to him, his agents usually seek the help of some support staff or small-time domestic players, who are “handsomely paid”. The TV sting last year too suggested so, since the five players involved in the sting — TP Sudhindra (Deccan Chargers), Mohnish Mishra (Pune Warriors), Amit Yadav (Kings XI Punjab), Shalabh Srivastava (Kings XI Punjab) and Abhinav Bali — were all small-time domestic players. According to the source, in fixing parlance, it is called “micro-fixing”, a method wherein ‘insiders’ accept money from bookies to offer valuable information or under-perform.
“There is no evidence to verify the involvement of any top player. Usually, they approach lesser-known support staff or domestic players. Since the money involved is so big that many of them pass on information on the team selection, strategy and pitch conditions,” he revealed.
The course of certain matches has naturally triggered doubts, he claimed.
Like the number of dropped catches and spilled run-outs (some of them that would shame the school-kids) or the alarming regularity of teams capsizing from winnable junctures or the part-time pie-chuckers claiming hat-tricks or the stereotyped rags-to-riches script of certain players. Suspense, if artificially conceived, strikes as bizarre, was the bookie’s arguement.
Now a days even the bookies are highly professional and organised with a worldwide network, and they go about their operations in a meticulously indiscreet manner. Mostly, they operate via the Internet. Phone-call betting is open to only regular clients. The source claims that a bookie from Chennai, aka Kitty, has been making quite a fortune since the last eight to nine years. He supposedly owns a dozen mobile numbers, both national and international and doesn’t entertain call from strangers. “He is a smooth operator and maintains top secrecy. He has become so rich that he is now operating individually while earlier he had a few partners,” he revealed.
Besides, it is not as if only Pakistani and Indian bookies are involved in fixing. “There are bookies from England, South Africa and Australia as well. It’s too big a racket to be derailed by a random crackdown. They operate from every cricket-playing country.
Also, they share a close rapport with the local policemen,” he said. He, however, did not know of any top BCCI official’s involvement.
The strategic timeout makes punting more excitable, claim bookies. It supposedly furnishes teams with a breather, the punters, in contrast, can’t afford rest, for this is when odds change, often drastically.
Most of the betting is done on a half-money basis (where the winner gets half the money he has bid for). And as much as `10-15 crore passes hand in every match.