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Boria Majumdar’s new book reveals anecdotes from Rajasthan Royals spot-fixing episode

Cricket historian Boria Majumdar’s new book Eleven Gods And A Billion Indians offers a fascinating insight into the infamous spot-fixing scandal in which three Rajasthan Royals players, including S Sreesanth, were arrested.

books Updated: Mar 27, 2018 17:01 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Rajasthan Royals,Boria Majumdar,Eleven Gods And A Billion Indians
The book cover of Boria Majumdar’s Eleven Gods And A Billion Indians.

When a top official of Rajasthan Royals team management was informed about the arrest of three of its players in the wake of 2013 spot-fixing scandal, he thought someone was pulling a prank, reveals a new book on Indian cricket.

Cricket historian Boria Majumdar’s new book Eleven Gods And A Billion Indians, published by Simon and Schuster, reveals some anecdotes from the spot-fixing episode.

Call it destiny or twist of fate, Rajasthan Royals’ journey has been one of intrigue and full of drama since the inception of Indian Premier League in 2008, when Shane Warne led a bunch of upstarts like Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Swapnil Asnodkar to title glory. But post 2013 when the infamous spot-fixing scandal broke out with three of its players, including former India speedster S Sreesanth, being arrested, the Jaipur-based outfit has been a much-maligned one.

In the chapter titled Sky Fall (page 181),CEO of Royals, Raghu Iyer revisits the early morning of May 16, 2013.

Unlike the Chennai team, which was represented by a battery of lawyers, the Rajasthan team had sent Rahul Dravid, among others, to put forward their case before Justice Lodha and his team.

“We were staying at The Oberoi and I got a call around 5:30 am from duty manager of the hotel. My wife picked up the call and passed it to me in a jiffy. The duty manager was saying to me that several policemen, including an assistant commissioner from Mumbai Police, were waiting downstairs and I was to go down as soon as possible.

“We had a sponsor shoot with Cyrus Broacha (a TV anchor and video jockey) the previous day and my first thought was this was a prank. I was being made a bakra. I even said so and tried to laugh it off,” Iyer recollects.

“That was when I was told it was not a prank and that I was being summoned.”

The author then writes: “The Royals CEO went down and was met by a team from Delhi Police, led by an ACP in a safari suit. The cops had done their due diligence and were there to arrest three of the Royals players for spot-fixing. Iyer was literally pulled out of the bed and told about the arrests.”

“They were in no hurry and after explaining to me in detail did they tell me that they were going to Ankeet Chavan’s room to pick him up,” said Iyer.

Iyer gave himself two hours to prepare for the enormity before informing Rahul Dravid at 8 am. “I informed Rahul at 8 am and he was distraught. He had hands on his head and just couldn’t speak. To see a player of his calibre and stature go through this was painful.”

Interestingly, in another chapter titled What Do They Know Of Cricket?, Majumdar provides another anecdote when a team representing Rajasthan Royals went to meet the Supreme Court-appointed three-member committee headed by former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha.

The author writes (page 218): “Unlike the Chennai team, which was represented by a battery of lawyers, the Rajasthan team had sent Rahul Dravid among others, to put forward their case before Justice Lodha and his team.”

He then goes onto quote a source close to the panel, who corroborated the incident. “It was very interesting to see two different strategies being adopted by two different franchises. While Chennai was going the legal route, Rajasthan had Rahul Dravid with them for the very first meeting. Dravid had no role and it was very clear that it was an attempt to make an impression on the committee,” the source said.

“Justice Lodha, he went on to conform, was very polite but clear with Dravid. He wasn’t needed in the meeting was the message that was conveyed to Dravid reasonably early and was respectfully told that they would call on him as and when required,” the author writes.

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First Published: Mar 27, 2018 16:59 IST