Test in Which Karun Nair Scored 303* Was Fixed: Al Jazeera Sting
File photo of Karun Nair.
File photo of Karun Nair.(Photo: Reuters)

Test in Which Karun Nair Scored 303* Was Fixed: Al Jazeera Sting

The results of at least three Test matches involving India – against Sri Lanka (Galle, July 26-29, 2017), against Australia (Ranchi, March 16-20, 2017) and against England (Chennai, December 16-20, 2016) – were fixed, claims a documentary named Cricket’s Match Fixers made by Al Jazeera. The first and third Tests mentioned were won by India while the Ranchi encounter ended in a draw.

Certain sessions in each of the three Test matches are said to have been scripted via a collusion between players and match fixers. However, no Indian cricketer is mentioned in the sting operation.

According to the documentary, a Mumbai-based former Indian first-class cricketer Robin Morris, an Indian advertisement executive based in the UAE and members of the D-Company fix the results of the matches through their contacts in the cricketing world and the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The journalist David Harrison, who carried out the sting operation, explains how match fixers bribe curators and current and former cricketers to set the results of a session or an entire match.

The documentary features Pakistan’s Hasan Raza (the youngest to play a Test match) and three Sri Lankan players – Dilhara Lokuhettige, Jeevantha Kulatunga and Tharindu Mendis – who are allegedly taking part in spot-fixing or doctoring of pitches.

Robin Morris, alleged to be a match-fixer, is seen introducing Galle curator Tharanga Indika to the undercover reporter and boasting about getting pitches doctored as sought by fixers. The ICC has launched an investigation into the matter.

We have already launched an investigation working with anti-corruption colleagues from Member countries based on the limited information we have received. We have made repeated requests that all evidence and supporting materials relating to corruption in cricket is released immediately to enable us to undertake a full and comprehensive investigation.
ICC

The documentary revealed that at least two Australian cricketers took part in fixing sessions during the Ranchi Test and three English players were involved in fixing sessions during the Chennai Test.

The English players have denied the allegations and Australians have not spoken about the issue.

Aneel Munawar, a member of the D-Company, speaks during the sting operation.
Aneel Munawar, a member of the D-Company, speaks during the sting operation.
(Photo Courtesy: Youtube/Al Jazeera English)

The documentary shows how match-fixers fix sessions and matches. Harrison, while posing as a businessman, spoke to a member of the D-Company Aneel Munawar.

Each script I will give you, will happen, happen and happen.
Aneel Munawar

Robin Morris boasted about how he can tell a set of 30 players how to play.

I have a set of 30 players who will play what I tell them to do.
Robin Morris

Morris’ business partner, Gaurav Rajkumar, added: “We don’t care about the entertainment as long as we are making our money.”

However, Morris, on his part, reportedly denied any wrongdoing and cried conspiracy before turning his mobile phone off and has deleted his Facebook account.

I have been fabricated in this, there is no truth in this and I have nothing to do with the Galle Test.
Robin Morris as quoted by Hindustan Times

Reacting to the TV channel's claims, BCCI said it is working with the ICC anti-corruption unit.

The BCCI has a zero-tolerance approach to any activity or act that brings the game of cricket to disrepute or mars the integrity of the game. The BCCI anti-corruption unit is working closely with the ICC anti-corruption on the alleged claims by a television channel.
BCCI’s Statement

A BCCI official further said it would wait for the outcome of the ICC investigation before deciding on stopping Morris' pension for a 42-match first-class career.

"We believe ICC has started its probe. Let them complete that and pronounce Morris guilty. The BCCI will only act when they have the verdict in hand," a senior office-bearer of the Board said.

He also said that Morris, who has also played 51 List A matches in his career is not currently involved in any BCCI projects.

"We need to check with our Anti Corruption Unit (ACU) whether Morris' name was there on the suspect list. Secondly, he is not associated with any BCCI or state unit project currently from where we need to pull him out.

"So the only thing left is BCCI domestic cricketers' pension of Rs 22,500 (after deductions). If he is getting that pension, BCCI is well within its rights to cancel that but only after he has been proven guilty," the official said.

File photo of Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland.
File photo of Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland.
(Photo: Reuters)

Cricket Australia too responded cautiously and said it would need more details before acting.

"Although not having been provided an opportunity to view the documentary or any raw footage, our long-standing position on these matters is that credible claims will be treated very seriously and fully investigated," CA Chief Executive James Sutherland said in a statement.

Neither the ICC or Cricket Australia is aware of any credible evidence linking Australian players to corruption in the game. We urge Al Jazeera to provide all unedited materials and any other evidence to the ICC investigation team, so, if appropriate, a full and thorough investigation can be conducted.
James Sutherland

ECB Chief Executive Tom Harisson also dismissed the allegations surrounding the 2016 India-England Test in Chennai.

"There is nothing we have seen that would make us doubt any of our players in any way whatsoever," Harrison said in a ECB statement.

The limited information we have been given has been discussed with all the England players. They emphatically deny the allegations, have stated categorically that the claims are false and they have our full support.
Tom Harisson

Harisson expressed disappointment over the TV channel not cooperating enough.

Neither ECB nor the ICC is aware of any credible evidence connecting any England players to any form of corruption. ECB had been aware of the planned Al Jazeera documentary for some time but have not been given the full content.
Tom Harisson

"There have been repeated requests for any evidence and unedited materials to be shared with the ICC so they can fully investigate. We, like other member boards, are disappointed that Al Jazeera have not been more cooperative and responsible when making such serious allegations," he added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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