CHENNAI: In the wake of an unprecedented number of players being approached for spot-fixing and related activities, BCCI is planning to increase the strength of its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU). The Karnataka Premier League is under scrutiny, whispers have been heard in the Tamil Nadu Premier League also and on Sunday, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly revealed one more player was approached during the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s.
Sources tracking developments said that two others were approached during the Mushtaq Ali Trophy which was held in Surat, Visakhapatnam, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Thiruvananthapuram last month. While Ganguly acknowledged this was worrisome, BCCI members pointed out during Sunday’s AGM that these incidents were noticed when ACU officials were monitoring these tournaments. For instance, the domestic T20 leagues in the past recruited private agencies, with one integrity officer dealing with each team separately. But after the BCCI decided to take charge of these leagues, there were at the most a couple of them handling the entire tournament.
The BCCI reckons the ACU is short on manpower and its resources are not adequate to keep track of everything. The ACU is alarmed by the fact that some of bookies, who are well-connected internationally, are targeting the domestic-set up, taking advantage of the increased number of teams in the fold. It is understood that soon after a player informed the ACU about a phone call from a suspected bookie, all the players were once again reminded to be careful. They were also instructed to inform their team managers in case they stepped out for a meal or for some other an outing while participating in an event.
Although players have been quick in reporting these approaches to the ACU, the BCCI believes each team should have a designated integrity officer, as it will help build trust. While this would mean a substantial increase in the budget allocated to the ACU wing, it is something the BCCI is likely to ponder in the coming weeks.There is a school of thought that since state units hosting T20 leagues pay the BCCI for the ACU’s services, they should also have a say in the number of integrity officers. Whether the BCCI entertains this or not remains to be seen.