New Delhi: A soon-to-be-released book by Briton Ed Hawkins - a sports-betting journalist who has spent several years investigating corruption in cricket - threatens to further expose the dirt in the game.
In his book Bookie, Gambler, Fixer, Spy, Hawkins brings the 2011 World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan under a cloud. In that match, the eventual winners India had beaten Pakistan by 29 runs with Sachin Tendulkar, who got the Man-of-the-Match award for his 85, getting four reprieves during the course of his innings.
Here are some excerpts from the book published by Daily Mail on Saturday.
With the innings winding down and my friend Cherrene off making more tea, I check emails, news sites, Facebook and, finally, my Twitter account. Parthiv had sent a message:
‘Bookie update… India will bat first and score over 260, 3 wickets fall within the first 15 overs, pak will cruise to 100, then lose 2 quick wickets, at 150 they will be 5 down and crumble and lose by a margin of over 20 runs.’
‘Chezza,’ I called out. ‘I think you’d better have a look at this. A bookie has messaged me. He’s sent me a script of what is going to happen.’
‘Oh, this is extraordinary! Let me read it… oh good God! How many have India got?’
India are approaching 260. At the start of the final over they are 256 for seven. Bowled by Wahab Riaz, it goes dot ball-wicket-single-single-wicket-two. India close on 260. Cherrene is beside herself. I urge calm. ‘Hang on a sec, he said more than 260. The proof will be when Pakistan bat.’
‘Oh, this is amazing!’
Indeed it was. Parthiv had been correct twice previously when he had messaged with information about a fix during a game. But he had not sent anything as detailed as this. I checked the scorecard. He was wrong about India losing three wickets in the first 15 overs and his prediction was out by a single run for a total of more than 260. This would be enough to exonerate India from wrongdoing.
The information for Pakistan’s innings was more thorough… ‘pak will cruise to
100, then lose 2 quick wickets, at 150 they will be 5 down and crumble and lose by a margin of over 20 runs’. Had this been received from anyone other than an Indian bookmaker it would be considered a wild guess.
I email two gambling associates, including Geoffrey Riddle, a journalist, sharing Parthiv’s script and telling them that I expect Pakistan’s innings to unfold exactly as he said. Parthiv had form, I write, for accuracy.
However, Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal, who took 2 for 44 in the match, has rubbished the journalist’s claims. “I think these allegations are being made now to just spoil our coming tour to India. There is no substance to the story. I played in the semi final and I know how every player fought tooth and nail in it," he said reacting to a fresh claims by a sports-betting journalist that the match could have been fixed.
"But if there is any truth in that the match was fixed how come even after such a long time no one has been able to show any evidence. This issue is being raised again to derail our series in India," the offspinner told a new channel.