SCA eyes India as million dollar life-saver

Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Singapore: Singapore cricket officials are highlighting the squeaky-clean image of the island nation in a sea of match-fixing as they attempt to win an appearance by money-drawing India to keep the sport solvent. With coffers drained by an extensive upgrading of facilities, Singapore needs a repeat of India's 1999 visit, which returned more than $ 1 million. But with Indian players named in match-fixing allegations, New Delhi has banned the Indian team playing in non-traditional venues such as Singapore, Sharjah and Toronto. The International Cricket Council's (ICC) anti-corruption report released last week said "corrupt practices" took place in the carnival atmosphere at neutral venues, although it did not name any. Singapore Cricket Association (SCA) secretary Anil Kalavar wants the issue cleared at next month's' ICC meeting in London. "Our strategy will be to hammer home the squeaky-clean image of Singapore and request the ICC members to publicly clear our name," Kalavar said. "If we can achieve that then we will be in a position to approach the Indian government for permission to organise a triangular tournament involving India." Kalavar has already sounded out his Indian counterpart Jayawant Lele on an appearance at the triangular tournament in early September, before India's long awaited Test match against Pakistan, which starts on September 13. "I have been assured by Mr Lele that India is willing to play anywhere subject to government clearance," said Kalavar. Singapore, with a strong population of cricket-loving Indians, has a potential main sponsor for its triangular tournament this year, but only if India take part. The cricket association needs to refill its coffers after an extensive and expensive upgrading of its main venue at Kallang, which includes floodlights for day-night matches. "But all the effort will be a complete waste without India's participation," association media manager Udai Padbidri said. "Last year we barely broke even with top teams like South Africa and Pakistan in the event. So it is in our interest to ensure that India play here."

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