My story is true: Manoj Prabhakar

Written by: S K Sham
Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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The terms of reference laid down by the Board of Control for Cricket in India to the one-man inquiry commission of former Chief Justice Y V Chandrachud were:

Whether any Indian player was in any manner involved in betting on matches, and Whether any Indian player was in any manner involved in match-fixing.

These are the excerpts of the deposition of some of the prominent players:

MANOJ PRABHAKAR: My story is true. I did not speak out for three years because I wanted to play cricket. It is not correct that I have made up the story because I was put out of the team. I cannot disclose the names of the team-mates or any other person involved in offering the bribe to me for losing the game because, if I do so, my life will be in danger.

I was threatened to that effect by persons who offered me the bribe. I am also afraid that I will be sued or prosecuted for defamation, if I disclose the names. I have no evidence to prove my statements as it is their word against mine. A prosecution will totally ruin me.

SACHIN TENDULKAR: I do not believe that matches are fixed and can be fixed. Within my knowledge, no match has ever been fixed. I never got the feeling that any of my team-mates deliberately played a bad shot to get out. Speaking for myself, I am so made that I decide to take an occasional risk which works most of the times, but fails occasionally. A batsman who can deliberately get out would indeed be a super technician.

He will use his expertise for playing well rather than getting out. We now make such handsome money merely by playing for the country. It would be suicidal for any player to play badly deliberately. For example, between May 1996 and May 1997, we played 15 international matches, for which each of us received about Rs 40 lakh. I feel it is impossible to believe that any player would risk being dropped from the team for deliberate bad play and lose not only the honour of playing for his country, but also to earn so much money by lawful means.

The statements made by Manoj Prabhakar have no foundation. If he had the courage to say that somebody offered him money to play badly, then he should have had the courage to name the player.

MOHAMMED AZHARUDDIN: I do not think that any match can be fixed. It has taken me 14 long years to build up some reputation as a player. I cannot think of destroying it by playing badly with deliberate motive. It is true that I dress well. I also like to live in good style. I have a house in Hyderabad and a flat in Bombay. My accounts are quite clear. The tax authorities are the best judges of that. I do not know if there is betting in cricket. But I know this for certain that none of my team-mates bet.

NAYAN MONGIA: Matches are not fixed at all. I have been playing Test cricket since 1993. I came to know about the expression "fixing of matches," from newspapers only. As a member of the Indian team, I have never experienced it. I think it is crazy that any player will bet to lose. I have never heard even a whisper of it from any team-mate.

AJAY JADEJA: People watch the game for the thrill of its uncertainty. It is ironical that whoever does not do well is presumed to be bought over and it is, as if the match is played by the bookies and not by us.

When you are included in the team, you think only of your performance and not of money. Cricket is a religion in India and if the numerous spectators even suspect that a player takes a bribe to play badly, they will boycott him and destroy his family socially. I believe that people bet on cricket, but a player can make far more money by playing well and winning a match than by playing badly and losing it.

I do not think that in today's Indian team there is any player who bets on the game. It is true that at one time, friends used to have access to the players' enclosure and sometimes they used to speak on mobile phones. Now mobiles are not allowed after we leave the hotel.

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