Finally, after much deliberation the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has zeroed in on the UAE as the venue to stage the initial half of the Indian Premier League starting April 16.
The BCCI’s decision — necessitated by the timing of the general elections — to hold the IPL matches in a place notorious for match fixing and betting will come under severe scrutiny.
Incidentally, fixing and betting were the reasons why the Indian cricket board had snapped all its cricketing ties with the UAE. The drastic step was taken after the match-fixing scandal broke out in 2000.
The Anti-Corruption Security Unit (ACSU) of the BCCI is now bracing up for the challenges ahead, especially in light of the spot fixing and betting scandal that rocked the cash-rich tournament last year.
Read: First phase of IPL7 to kick off in UAE from April 16
Against the backdrop of an allegedly strong presence of the underworld as well as the betting syndicate in the UAE, the ACSU is, nevertheless, confident of making it trouble-free this time.
“We have followed protocol and put in place a robust system. By drawing lessons from what happened last year, taking note of the Mudgal report, the ICC ACSU report and my own report, we have taken a few precautionary measures to make it tougher to repeat what happened last year,” said Ravi Sawani, the head of ACSU.
Dismissing the notion that conducting matches in the UAE would be the toughest assignment, Sawani added, “There are always laws, yet murder happens. Similarly, we had put in place a few mechanisms, yet some people exploited the loopholes. We will do what is humanly possible, aware that T20 is the format which is more vulnerable to fixing and betting.
“We are confident of countering it. If required, we will expand our manpower in the UAE without hesitating. Also, the laws are quite strict there. In case we come across any such incidents, we will take the help of their law enforcement agencies to report whoever we feel can pose danger to the game. I am sure it will act as a deterrent.”
Hoping for similar cooperation which the Bangladesh police, home ministry and military intelligence had extended during 2011 world cup, and are offering for the coming ICC World T20, the ACSU will seek help from the UAE government to strengthen its anti-corruption mechanism.
“We will attach our own ACSU officer with every team. The officer will keep round-the-clock vigil, will travel and stay with the team wherever it goes. This is something we didn’t do last year,” Sawani said.
“Also, the UAE is hosting international matches already. We will seek the help of the existing infrastructure there and local help who have prior knowledge about the bookies who are under their radar.”