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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Cricket

Fixing still weighs heavy on the Sawai Mansingh Stadium
Sanjjeev K Samyal, Hindustan Times
Jaipur, October 17, 2013
First Published: 00:10 IST(17/10/2013)
Last Updated: 00:14 IST(17/10/2013)

The impressive lotus-shaped building standing over the square boundary is hard to miss. As it grows dark, it is lit up, the sequence lighting making lively patterns in the petals. But it's an ugly reminder of the spot-fixing scandal that rocked the Pink City and Indian cricket.

Ask the locals about it, and you are told: "Chappa pada tha ispe (police raided it). It's a big jewellery showroom and is said to be co-owned by one of the biggest bookies who was involved in the mess, and a Bollywood actor who was the kingpin.

It's been almost six months since the scandal broke but spot-fixing still hangs heavy over the Sawai Mansingh Stadium air. Apart from being an international venue, it's also the home to Rajasthan Royals, the team that became the prime target of bookies.

Close vigil
Since then the ICC has become stricter. It's not just about depositing mobiles with the team manager. On match days, players are not allowed any contacts. Entry to dressing room is blocked and a board has been put up, displaying instructions: "You are now entering a restricted area and must comply with specific ICC regulations." The use of laptops connected to the internet and software systems providing access to email or text messages are also prohibited.

Towards the business end of IPL, Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankit Chavan were arrested by Delhi Police for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing. There are many tales of Sreesanth's misdemeanors. Once he was reportedly caught by security guards climbing the wall to enter the stadium as he was late and the gates were closed. He was attending the Royals camp and was staying at RCA's Academy.

RCA treasurer Mahendra Sharma told HT the incident was blown up. "Now you can say it is a big incident, but if you look at it in isolation, it was not. The matter was closed then and there."


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