Nayan Ramesh Shah, one of the three men arrested on Thursday from the Kanpur hotel where IPL teams Gujarat Lions and Delhi Daredevils were staying, is suspected of having got pitches tampered for the betting syndicate he was working for, according to police sources. (DD vs RPS: T20 MATCH BLOG)
Majority of bets being placed through this syndicate was on whether the match would be high or low-scoring. Shah, the sources said, told the police his job was to ensure the pitch prepared for the match was on the slower side. Shah has been an U-17 and U-19 player.(DD vs RPS: T20 MATCH SCORECARD)
Shah would ensure this with the help of ground staff, which has free access to the pitch and ground, he has told police during questioning.
Ramesh Kumar, a member of the ground staff at Kanpur’s Green Park ground, has reportedly been working for Shah in the last two years, the sources said. Kumar and Vikas Chauhan, hailing from Kanpur Dehat district, were also arrested on Thursday.
Police found during questioning that Kumar’s job was to do excess watering of the pitch before it was handed over to the match referee. “Watering had to be done in a way that pitch remains damp till the first innings is over; the pitch is watered a minimum four times before the pitch gets under the control of the match referee,” said the sources.
Kumar was reportedly paid Rs 5000 each time he watered the pitch as per Shah’s instructions. If the curator asked him to water it for five minutes, Kumar reportedly would water it for more than 10 minutes.
Each time this process was done, Shah would send pictures of the pitch being watered to Bunty, a racket kingpin based in Ajmer.
Ramesh Kumar reportedly clicked and sent pictures of the pitch after it was watered for the last time to Shah.
Having been a cricketer, Shah then analysed the pitch and sent a message that the team batting first would not be able to score 200 or more runs. “This syndicate works differently, it accepts bets largely on high or low scoring game patterns,” said the source.
SP (crime) Jitendra Srivastava said there was evidence of pitch tampering and others involved in the racket should be known once the police apprehended and questioned Bunty.
“This is the basic task of Shah; we are working on other aspects as well,” said the officer who led the team that arrested Shah and the other two. “Our technical experts are working on the cell phones of Shah and others, we expect more leads soon.”
Shah apparently reached Kanpur on April 25 and stayed at Hotel Landmark, where three floors were booked for Gujarat Lions and Delhi Daredevils teams. He stayed in Kanpur for three days during which he met Ramesh and gave him instructions about watering the pitch, the sources said.
“Slow pitches are good for the business; people have this perception that IPL matches are all about scoring runs,” Shah is said to have told the interrogators. Shah was drafted into the syndicate three years ago for his knowledge of cricket and pitches. He has played a good amount of cricket at U-17 and U-19 level and that helped him develop a rapport with the ground staff.