Three Indian Premier League cricketers including a former national team bowler are being investigated by police for spot-fixing in matches.
The Jaipur-based Rajasthan Royals said three unnamed players have been called in by investigators. The Board of Control for Cricket in India, which runs the competition, said it suspended Ankeet Chavan, Ajit Chandila and S. Sreesanth pending the inquiry. Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat didn’t answer three calls to his mobile phone seeking comment.
“We are completely taken by surprise,” the Royals said in a statement on their website. “We will fully cooperate with the authorities to ensure a thorough investigation. The management at Rajasthan Royals has a zero-tolerance approach to anything that is against the spirit of the game.”
Fueled by sponsorships, broadcast revenue and ticket sales, the IPL has grown into the world’s richest cricket competition, worth $3.67 billion, according to London-based Brand Finance Plc. The Twenty20 league, which showcases the sport’s newest and shortest format, is in its sixth season.
Sreesanth is a fast bowler who played 27 Test matches and 53 one-day games for India. He made his one-day international debut in 2005 and last played for the national team in 2011.
In spot fixing, players manipulate specific actions in a game, such as the number of no-balls bowled or the number of runs a batsman makes, rather than the result of a match.
“We will offer all cooperation to the Delhi police and all other authorities in their investigations in this matter,” the Mumbai-based BCCI said in a statement. “All information required to bring the persons involved to book will be collected and strictest action will be taken, if found guilty.”
Pakistan’s Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were jailed in the U.K. in 2011 after being convicted of taking bribes to manipulate incidents in an elite five-day Test match against England at Lord’s in August 2010. That followed an undercover sting by the defunct U.K. tabloid the News of the World.