Contrary to reports that Mohammed Siraj was approached by a man from Hyderabad to pass on ‘team information’ during the ongoing Indian Premier League, sources in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)’s Anti-Corruption unit have confirmed to Sportstar that the incident happened during India’s tour of New Zealand in November last year, and not during the ongoing franchise league.
“The matter was reported by Siraj when the team was touring New Zealand in November last year, just after the T20 World Cup. So, it’s a six-month old issue and is nowhere related to the IPL,” a highly-placed source in the BCCI ACU said.
Several media outlets claimed that the man in question, who reportedly is an auto-driver, called Siraj to get team information about Royal Challengers Bangalore, but the ACU sources have confirmed that Siraj received a WhatsApp from the person when the team was in Napier in New Zealand last year during the T20I series and immediately reported the issue to the BCCI’s anti-corruption unit officers.
“The Board regularly conducts anti-corruption workshops with players, so they are aware of the dos and don’ts. Siraj reported a suspicious approach when the team was travelling overseas and the ACU initiated the investigation and the man in question was nabbed by the Andhra Police and took necessary action,” the source said, indicating that the man in question is ‘possibly not’ a bookie, but a cricket fan who lost his money in betting. “He wanted information and ‘help’ from Siraj. But the India international took screenshots and other details of the chat and immediately reported it to the ACU…”
This is not the first time in recent years that such a case has happened. In 2019, the BCCI had lodged an FIR against two bookies for approaching an India women’s international. The two individuals had contacted the India women all-rounder on the garb of player managers, but eventually sought team information from her and her colleagues. The cricketer taped the conversation and reported the matter to the BCCI ACU and action was initiated against the two bookies.
A couple of years ago, during the IPL, bookies were nabbed from an IPL team hotel in Mumbai, but the ACU had then confirmed that no players were approached.
This time around, the BCCI ACU has been alert during the IPL so far and the franchises have also been asked to follow the dos and don’t to ensure that players are safe.
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