New Delhi, Mar 20: Former International Cricket Council chief Ehsan Mani has said on Monday that India has been the illegal betting hub as it has been fostering corruption in the sport.
Ehsan Mani, headed the ICC from 2003-2006, estimated that Asia Cup match between India and Pakistan in Dhaka attracted $500 million worth of bets, but did not reveal how he had arrived at the figure.
"Unless the betting industry is brought under control in India, you can't stop match-fixing," he said.
"There's no doubt that India, certainly Delhi and Mumbai, is the epicentre of cricket betting."
"I'm a strong advocate of legalising betting in India, and bringing it under control of regulatory authorities so that... the conduct of bookies can be monitored properly," he added.
"You'll find that the risk of corrupting players around the world will reduce significantly."
Mani urges that Sharad Pawar, who heads ICC and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should take some action on this regard and legalise betting in India.
"It's a matter of how you control it because there's no way, I believe, that it can be stamped out in India. So, if (it) can't be stamped out, how do they control it in a way that it can stop corrupting the game."
He further added saying Indian Premier League and Big Bash in Australia have emboldened illegal bookies.
"Obviously, high profile matches like the IPL and Big Bash leave a lot of scope for players to be corrupted; whether they are being corrupted or not, I can't say," he said.
"I think IPL must have added hugely to the cricket betting industry in India."
There are a couple of instances related to fixing in recent times which has corrupted the game, the latest to join the list is Mervyn Westfield who was given a jail term recently to follow Pakistan's tainted trio-Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer, who were also found guilty of spot-fixing.
The current scenario needs attention as match-fixing, once a rare phenomenon has become quite common in recent times.