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'Bhaiya, line shuru kar dijiye...'

cricket Updated: Sep 12, 2010 01:06 IST
Heena Zuni Pandit
Heena Zuni Pandit
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

When Mazhar Majeed, the Pakistan team agent who told the News of the World that he could fix matches for money, indicated that he dealt with an Indian betting syndicate, no one was surprised. After all, India is the point of origin of most of the money, legal and illegal, in the cricket world. How it happened

In the course of that chat, he also repeatedly mentioned the word "brackets”, saying "We do brackets…” for an "Indian party”. How networking operates

The Hindustan Times has learned that what the England-based Majeed called "brackets" are called "sessions" by local bookies and punters. And these sessions are available through "lines". Confused? Don’t be. We’re going to take you through how one of India’s illegal betting syndicates works.

It all started when, several enquiries later, a couple of Delhi-based players directed us to a small-time bookie, a cricketer who once played league cricket in Delhi. We were told he was "someone who can tell you how it works".

Mr. X agreed to meet us only after being certain that we were interested punters (it all works through a system of verbal recommendation and references from people in the know).

A few conversations and a couple of meetings on, he decided we were genuine and agreed to get us a special cellphone, with a modified SIM card that would let us tap into the underground betting network.

We got in ahead of the second England vs Pakistan Twenty20 game in Cardiff and from there on, it was all about no names, deep voices, passwords, rates and money.