"Attractive girls are the ideal choice to cosy up to players and persuade them to work for bookmakers. Players are always vulnerable to approaches by pretty girls."
Majority would have taken the claim made a while ago by Vicky Seth, a Delhi-based bookie, to the undercover Sunday Times reporters with a pinch of salt. The bookie-pimp nexus, exposed by the Delhi Police a few days back, that hatched a plan to fly out a huge number of call girls to Sri Lanka ahead of the T20 WC in September-October, however, lends credibility to the "honey-trap" theory.
"We're not surprised by this revelation. The bookies are like any other crooked businessmen who would use any method to achieve their nefarious goals," said a police source, who is also aware of the working of the ICC's Anti-corruption and Security Unit.
"Using young and attractive girls make perfect sense. Players, like anyone else their age, are willing to mingle with the fairer sex. Besides, it's easier for a girl to escape the prying eyes of the authorities than it is for a bookie or any other shady character."
The "honey traps" could also bring the IPL's post-match parties under the scanner. The parties, though officially banned since the last season, continue to be hosted. The difference is, there is nothing official about it. They aren't held by the IPL but by the franchisees or the sponsors. The free-flowing alcohol, bunch of models, cheerleaders and other little known socialites frequenting these parties makes them perfect for a bookie to lay his trap.
"The job of the ICC's anti corruption unit is to deny shady characters access to players. Such parties however are just tailor-made for such elements," said the source.
The IPL too is aware of it. "We have learnt a few franchisees are hosting these parties, though not on as big a scale as it used to be. The parties are off officially, but what can be done if someone chooses to do it behind closed doors? Partying is after all not a crime," said a senior BCCI official.
But what steps are taken to save players, especially youngsters, from falling to such temptations? "The ICC"s anti-corruption unit every year briefs players up to the under-19 category about betting and match fixing. They tell them of all the possible methodology the bookies could use to approach them. After that, it's up to the players," said the official.
Given how things have panned out in the recent past, not everyone is following the security brief.