Two bragging and decidedly dodgy Indian bookmakers, a Bollywood actress and some New Zealanders. It sounds like the start of a very bad joke but in fact these are the central figures in the latest cricket corruption expose from the man behind the sting that led to the downfall of then Pakistan captain Salman Butt and his opening pair of fast bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif.
Mazher ‘Fake Sheikh’ Mahmood is now an investigative journalist for The Sunday Times and it was the ‘English Cricket in bung scandal’ headline on the front page of this publication that nearly caused us to choke on our breakfast yesterday morning.
Fortunately, the actual article could best be described as ‘fanciful’ and seems entirely based on the testimonies of two Indian bookmakers including the unlikely named Vicky Seth.
Despite a number of references to corrupt New Zealanders, no cricketers are actually exposed as Butt, Aamer and Asif were on that fateful Sunday morning in August 2010. Indeed, the only vaguely interesting part of the story was the alleged use of a ‘well-known’ Bollywood actress as a honeytrap, which seems something as likely to ensnare Winnie the Pooh as it would a leading international cricketer.
The only other point of interest was claims that the second match of the recent Bangladesh Premier League was fixed, which given the rumours surrounding that particular tournament doesn’t come as any real surprise.
Whether any of what was written was actually true and not just a couple of not particularly ingenious bookies trying to obtain money under false pretences awaits to be seen, but the overwhelming sense we got was that it was an article that wouldn’t look out of place on Page 2 of Cricinfo – neither true, nor indeed funny.
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