In the match-mixing controversy in Nagpur on Monday further deepened with the discovery that the West Indies cricket team preferred to field first, instead of batting because of non-availability of cricket kits that had not arrived from Pakistan even though the pitch in Nagpur, clearly favoured batsmen.
The city police are now questioning the logic of the WI team to field first in this batting pitch and in the process losing the match. This has given more grist to the rumour mills that the match could have been 'fixed'. Disclosing this in Nagpur on Monday evening, the commissioner of Police, SPS Yadav also did not rule out any 'foul play' on it.
According to him, the WI team was in Pakistan till December 20. The team left its cricket kits at Lahore and instructed to send them to Nagpur by courier. However, one TNT Courier Services sent the kits to Mumbai only on January 20, just one day before the match. The kits were not sent to Nagpur by the first available morning flight. Instead, it was sent by the second morning flights, Jet Airways --- that reached here on January 21 at 8.55 am while the match started at 9.00 am.
"The WI players and particularly their captain Brian Lara was asking repeatedly about the kits at the ground. There is a great possibilities of WI team not to bat first because of non-availability of their kits in time," Yadav felt.
According to him, the Nagpur police probed the matter through another agency. It was said that the kits were given to TNT Courier for dispatching to Nagpur only on January 20. "This can be another angle for the possible match-fixing. Whether it was coincidence or a deliberate attempt that be probed. However, we have not gone in-depth in this regard and that's why we can't comment on it," the super cop pointed out.
He, however, said that the Nagpur police already informed the matter to the visiting ICC investigation team. "After the investigation, the ICC will be able to give you more information about it," he added.
The match-fixing controversy emerged after the Nagpur police tapped the telephonic conversation between the WI player Marlon Samuels and Mukesh Kochar, an alleged associate of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
The city police had informed the BCCI on February 7 about its findings. Police had alleged that Samuels was passing on information regarding his team composition to Kochar, which was violation of ICC code of conduct for players.