Suspicions of match-fixing reported in KPL in India

Cricket in India has once again been hit with reports of attempted corruption, this time in the Karnataka Premier League. The KPL is an eight-team league which has been operating since 2009, and while it is far from a top-end domestic T20 league, it is big enough to warrant interest from bookmakers and punters alike.

It was subsequently the cause for significant concern for bookmakers when, at this years event, unusual and unlikely patterns of betting emerged, particularly prior to one game a couple of weeks ago. Minutes prior to the game between the Hubli Tigers and the Bijapur Bulls, the Tigers’ odds suggested that the game was relatively evenly poised. Between that time and the start of the game, however, so much money had been placed on Hubli that they had become an overwhelming favourite, with the tide of money swinging the markets significantly enough to draw the attention of bookmakers.

As it were, Hubli did end up winning the game - by four wickets and with seven balls remaining. In isolation the game itself was nothing particularly exciting, but with the market movements prior to the game so significant, and the result validating this movement, Betfair were sufficiently put off to stop putting up markets for the rest of the tournament.

In the follow up to the game, the KPL acknowledged that there had been numerous players involved in the KPL who had come forward to the Anti-Corruption Unit, claiming to have been approached by match fixers. It is important to clarify that this does not mean that the players themselves have done anything untoward, and by reporting these approaches to the ACU they have potentially done everything within their power to maintain the integrity of the tournament.

What will arise from these reports, however, is at this point unclear. The Anti-Corruption Unit is currently investigating the claims, and action won’t be taken until more light has been shed on exactly what happened. When these investigations have ceased, we will provide further updates.

The BCCI and the league itself have been very strong in coming forward in their stance against corruption, claiming to have a ‘zero-tolerance approach’. Within the KPL, each of the eight teams has a single anti-corruption unit member assigned to them. He travels with the team, stays with them at all times, and closely monitors the goings on amongst the players and managers. 

Of course, this does not guarantee that the integrity of the tournament will always be upheld, but it does at least appear to suggest steps being implemented to make it more difficult for match fixers to infiltrate the tournament. At this point in time, despite the strange goings on in the Hubli vs Bijapur match in particular, and the reports made by players to the ACU, there is not necessarily any suggestion that anyone involved in the league has done anything untoward. It could very well be that an infiltration has been attempted, and everybody involved with the KPL has done the right thing from that point forward. The reports themselves, however, are yet another reminder of just how rife this issue is within cricket. 

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