New Delhi: Tainted cricketer Manoj Prabhakar, who tried to portray the picture of a man on a mission to cleanse the game of 'dirt', was responsible for introducing seven foreign cricketers to the global betting syndicate.The CBI has evidence of the involvement of nine foreign cricketers including these seven in match-fixing.A close scrutiny of the CBI inquiry report on match-fixing and betting in Indian cricket shows that 'utilising' his exposure and contacts with the international cricketing world to the best, Prabhakar presented these cricketers to the betting world or 'fast buck market' during his heydays between 1991 and 1994. Prabhakar's role in the present match-fixing scandal, as portrayed by the CBI, has been the story of a man who committed crimes after crimes and then pretended to be a crusader.The seven foreign cricket stars introduced by Prabhakar to notorious bookie Mukesh Kumar Gupta alias MK are ex-Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga and his deputy Aravinda de Silva, former captain and present wicket-keeper of the English team Alec Stewart, Australian opener Mark Waugh and his ex-teammate Dean Jones, West Indies cricketing genius Brian Lara and former Pakistani skipper Salim Malik.The remaining two cricketers - former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe and disgraced South African skipper Hansie Cronje - were introduced to the bad world of match-fixing and betting by de Silva and Mohammad Azharuddin respectively. CBI collected evidence against these players, through co-operation from bookies, to establish that they took money to provide 'information' about weather, team composition and pitch, if not for fixing matches. Prabhakar also introduced West Indian Gus Logie to Mukesh Gupta. CBI had also named four Pakistani players - Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar, Waqar Younis and Inzamam-Ul-Haq - and one of its former captain Asif Iqbal and Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya in the report. But no evidence of their involvement has been found. The one-time leading all-rounder following the CBI investigation emerged as a prime figure in the present match-fixing and betting controversy who worked as a tool for the betting syndicate to prosper their business. Ironically, it was Prabhakar who had alleged that cricketing icon Kapil Dev had offered him Rs 25 lakhs bribe to under perform in a match against Pakistan in Sri Lanka in 1994. He had also alleged that match-fixing had seeped into the bloodstream of the game in the country and a large number of cricketers are neck-deep into the 'trade'.Again, it was he who, through his secretly-taped interviews, had tried to make people speak about match-fixing and betting in Indian cricket and exposed the names of Ajay Jadeja, Azharuddin, Nayan Mongia and Ajay Sharma besides several cricketing officials. But after the six-month long CBI match-fixing inquiry, Prabhakar emerged as the prime accused in the scandal.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]