Match-fixing jeopardized Patil~~s coach candidacy

Published: Saturday, May 14, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Nairobi:The Kenyan cricket match-fixing scandal, which led to a five-year suspension of former captain Maurice Odumbe and further investigations on other players, may have jeopardized Sandeep Patil's candidacy as the next India coach, reports said.

The 48-year-old former Indian Test batsman was coach of the Kenya cricket team twice, first taking over in 1996 to 1997 and later return after the 1999 World Cup in England.

He left in controversial circumstances after the final of the 1997 ICC Trophy tournament in Malaysia but it was in his second time in charge that he scored much success with Kenya, leading the East Africa to their first-ever semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.

It was also during the same period that the allegations of match-fixing tainted the sport and Odumbe was subject of an inquiry investigation by the International Cricket Council (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Safety Unit.

The 2003 probe inquiry which found the player quilty of taking bribes from an Indian bookmaker also implicated other players who were later questioned by two investigators from the London-based unit.

Early this year, Kenyan cricket officials said the investigators were also keen to interview Patil in connection to a four-nation tournament held in Nairobi in 1999.

Indian media said the choice of Patil as one of the four candidates to replace John Wright as team coach "may not be welcomed by the ICC's Corruption Unit."

"Kenyan player Maurice Odumbe has been banned for five years and the ICC is wondering how his (Odumbe's) nexus with the Mumbai bookie went unnoticed by Patil who also hails from Mumbai and was a coach of the team during Odumbe's frequent visits to the city," the Inadaily.com said quoting the sources.

Patil's compatriot Mohinder Amarnath is one of three men who will be interviewed by a selection panel later this month before Wright's successor is announced.

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