Kapil exonerated of 'fix' allegation
Published: Monday, October 22, 2001, 21:43 [IST]
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New Delhi: Indian cricket's anti-corruption investigator has absolved former superstar Kapil Dev of any involvement in match-fixing and wants the enquiry closed, it was revealed on Monday. K Madhavan, who investigated the scam on behalf of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), cleared Kapil of any wrong-doing, but pointed accusing fingers at former captains Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajit Wadekar. Madhavan's final 52-page report, made available to AFP, said there was "no misconduct" on the part of India's then team management - comprising coach Kapil Dev and captain Sachin Tendulkar - over their failure to enforce the follow on in the Ahmedabad Test against New Zealand in 1999. Eyebrows were raised when India, leading by 275 runs, failed to make the Kiwis follow on after lunch on the fourth day and allowed the tourists to force a draw. It was alleged that bookmakers made a lot of money after being tipped off by an insider that the follow on would not be enforced. "There was no misconduct of any type in not enforcing the follow on against New Zealand," Madhavan wrote in his report, adding he found the statements of both Kapil and Tendulkar "satisfactory". Both Tendulkar and Kapil Dev told Madhavan that the decision not to enforce the follow on was taken only 30 minutes after lunch on the fourth day when the New Zealand first innings came to an end, the report states. According to Madhavan, Tendulkar said that he, "Kapil Dev and the other players had a discussion when the bowlers, particularly (pace spearhead Javagal) Srinath said that having bowled for two and a half hours or so in the heat they all felt tired. "They suggested a short break by India batting, piling up a good score and then declaring. This was the consensus arrived at by all players and Kapil Dev," the report states. "This was the reason for India not enforcing the follow on. No one tried to influence anyone." Madahvan, a former director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), said the allegation that bookies knew about the decision not to enforce the follow on the evening before, was according to Kapil and Tendulkar, "impossible". "There was no misconduct of any type in not enforcing the follow on against New Zealand. It was just bad luck for India and one more instance to confirm that cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties," the report states. The CBI had earlier dismissed charges by former teammate Manoj Prabhakar that Kapil had offered him a bribe to under-perform during a One-day International against Pakistan in Sri Lanka in 1994. But doubts remained over the way the Ahmedabad Test against New Zealand went. Azharuddin and Wadekar - captain and coach respectively of the Indian team in 1996 - were also not spared by Madhavan for their conduct during the controversial One- dayer against the West Indies in Kanpur in which Nayan Mongia and Prabahakar were penalised and suspended for slow scoring. "Both Azharuddin and Wadekar were 'remiss' in their failure to send a message to Manoj Prabhakar and Nayan Mongia to score quick runs," the report said. "They never did so. No action is possible against them now since Ajit Wadekar has retired from first-class cricket and Mohammed Azharuddin has already been banned for life." Azharuddin and former Test player Ajay Sharma were banned for life and Ajay Jadeja and Prabhakar suspended for five years by the BCCI following preliminary investigations last year. Azharuddin and Jadeja have challenged the bans in court.