Session-fixing claims made in Tests involving India, England, Australia

The Ranchi Test of 2017 between India and Australia and the Chennai Test of 2016 between India and England are among games reported to have been “session fixed” as per an Al Jazeera documentary titled ‘Cricket’s Match Fixers’. The video, made available on YouTube by the Qatar-based news agency, also alleges that the person involved in the preparation of the pitch used for the 2016 Sri Lanka-Australia Test in Galle and the 2017 Test between Sri Lanka and India had been willingly doctored.

Two Australian players and three English cricketers – names withheld in the documentary – that played in the aforementioned Ranchi and Chennai Tests have been alleged to have been in contact with the bookies.

The Al Jazeera sting reveals an Indian match-fixer Aneel Munawar, supposedly a member of the “D-Company” controlled by Dawood Ibrahim, who informs the undercover reporter about the impending fix of the fifth Test of the India-England series, played between December 16-20, 2016 in Chennai. After the toss, Munawar gives the details of the session to be fixed to middle-man Pintu. As per “session fix”, the fixers, colluding with players “guaranteed to be in the playing XI”, ascertain on a fixed number of runs that will be scored in a designated session (10-overs for the Chennai Test}.

The sting video also reveals Munawar indicating that the batting team would score below the bookies prediction for the total runs scored in the session, which upon a revisit by an ex-interpol agent is found to have “gone according to script.” The third Test in the India-Australia series of 2017 is also revealed to have played out according to the fixed script with suggestions being made to the effect of Australia’s batsmen suspiciously slowing down towards the end of the said session.

The video reveals the a fix is confirmed only after the toss. Pre-arranged signals are used to let the players know when the fix is on. The players indicate they are willing to deliver with constantly-changing signals viz. wearing a wristband, a headband or by taking off their gloves.

Meanwhile, the documentary also catches on film, Mumbai cricketer Robin Morris, who asks the undercover Al Jazeera reporter for 30 percent of his winnings in exchange of information on the match. Morris, in conjunction with Tharindu Mendis, a professional player who has worked with SLC, allegedly get the groundsmen to reveal that a flat pitch would be prepared for the Galle Test of 2017 between Sri Lanka and India.

Tharanga Indika, the groundsman at Galle, reveals that the pitch had been watered and hardened to favour batting. Indika is also mentioned to have doctored the pitch to favour spin in the 2016 game involving Australia that finished under three days. On that occasion, a report in The Australian had claimed of a possible pitch-fixing but the ICC had chosen not to investigate.

Morris and his associate Hasan Raza, the former Pakistan cricketer who played with Morris for the Mumbai Champs in the Indian Cricket League (ICL), have also been captured revealing plans to facilitate match fixing in T20 leagues. In the video, Morris, and another fixer identified as Gaurav Rajkumar, reveal plans for a Dubai-based four-team T20 tournament involving UAE internationals and B,C and D-grade foreign cricketers. These foreign players, who would be paid up to 35,000 GBP, will willingly participate in spot-fixing games.

Dilhara Lokuhettige, a former Sri Lanka international, and Jeevantha Kulatunga, the former coach of the Sri Lanka Women’s team, are also introduced to the undercover reporter as among those willing to manipulate the games.

In the documentary, Al Jazeera mentions Raza not responding to the allegations. Morris, meanwhile, has stated that he had been framed by the news agency, which had “invited him to audition for, and act in, a commercial movie ‘for public entertainment”. Others alleged to have

The ICC has insisted Al Jazeera provide it with relevant evidence for it to investigate.

“We will take the contents of the programme and any allegations it may make very seriously,” said Alex Marshall, head of ICC’s anti-corruption unit. ECB had echoed ICC’s sentiments while Cricket Australia has said that credible claims will be investigated. The Pakistan Cricket Board has said that it will be reviewing the reports concerning Hasan Raza.

Key Characters:

Robin Morris – Former Mumbai cricketer who played 42 first-class games, 51 List A games and 2 T20s between 1995/96 and 2007. Also played for Mumbai Champs in ICL.

Hasan Raza – Pakistan international who played 7 Tests, 16 ODIs. 232 first-class games, 197 List A games, 36 T20s. Team-mate of Morris in ICL.

Tharindu Mendis – Sri Lankan first-class cricketer who played 104 first-class games, 69 List-A matches, 9 T20s. Represented Colombo Cricket Club.

Dilhara Lokuhettige – Sri Lanka international who played 9 ODIs and 2 T20Is between 2005 and 2013. 146 first-class matches, 142 List-A games and 65 T20s.

Jeevantha Kulatunga – Sri Lankan international who played two T20Is in 2008. 206 first-class matches, 113 List-A games and 50 T20s. He was also appointed coach of Sri Lanka Women’s team in 2013 for two years.

Tharanga Indika – Assistant manager at the Galle cricket stadium

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