A day after the Nagpur Police disclosed that they had tapes of conversations between West Indian cricketer Marlon Samuels and a bookie, who has been identified by the investigators as Mukesh Kochar, Maharashtra police said they would, if needed, go to the Caribbean islands to speak to the cricketer.
The police ruled out the involvement of any other current India or West Indies player. They also admitted they had yet unearthed no evidence of money changing hands.
The transcripts of the tape (which the HT has) disclose how Samuels — from his hotel room on the eve of the January 21 one-day game between the West Indies and India in Nagpur — discussed the likely batting order, team composition, which bowler would bowl at the opening of the innings and when he would come on to bowl himself — first change, which is what happened.
Divulging this sort of information is illegal and has, in the past, had grave consequences for players. It is still not clear if the West Indies team management had had a whiff of something dubious in Nagpur. It turns out, however, that the team’s media manager, Imran Khan, had told the hotel staff in Bhubaneswar, near Cuttack (where the ODI after the one in Nagpur was played) to not transfer a single call to rooms of West Indies players.
“We followed the instructions strictly,” said a member of the staff of Mayfair hotel, where the team stayed. Sharad Pawar, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said the Nagpur police’s report has been sent on to the International Cricket Council (ICC). “It is the responsibility of the ICC to take appropriate action,” Pawar said.
Samuels’ mother, Daphne Lunan, told news agencies that her son and Kochar have been friends for six years and their relationship went beyond cricket. Daphne said she did not believe that her son was involved in match-fixing. “I was so shocked to hear that. Right now I’m feeling so nervous because I don’t believe Marlon mixes up into those things,” she has said.
(With inputs from Soumyajit Pattnaik in Bhubaneswar and Manish Pachouly in Mumbai)