Bengaluru Blasters batsman, bowling coach arrested on match-fixing charges


More arrests have been made in connection with corruption in the Karnataka Premier League, with Karnataka Police’s Central Crime Branch (CCB) taking into custody Bengaluru Blasters bowling coach Vinu Prasad and batsman M Viswanathan for an offence in 2018 on Friday.

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“Another match-fixing case has been traced by CCB in the KPL. (We have) arrested Bangalore Blasters team bowling coach Vinuprasad and Bangalore batsman Viswanathan,” Sandeep Patil, the Joint Commissioner of Police (crime), said.

Patil said that the two had allegedly fixed a match featuring the Blasters in 2018. “(Viswanathan) batted slowly for which he got Rs 5 lakh [approx. US$ 7000],” Patil said. “Further investigation is on. A few bookies are involved, who will be arrested.”

Quoting sources, the New Indian Express reported that the arrests were made following information provided by Bhavesh Bafna, who played the drums at the grounds during matches in the tournament and was arrested on October 3 for corruption. Bafna, in turn, had been hauled up after Asfak Ali Thara, the Belagavi Panthers owner, had been arrested on September 24 for alleged betting in the T20 league.

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In the 2018 edition of the KPL, opener Viswanathan played three games, scoring 14 off 13 balls against Bellary Tuskers, 5 off 6 balls against Namma Shivamogga, and 9 off 17 balls against Hubli Tigers.

This is only the latest in what appears to be a widespread malaise in the popular T20 league.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo after Bafna’s arrest, Patil had said that the drummer and another bookie called Sanyam had allegedly approached a player from Bellary Tuskers to “fix” games during the last KPL, “but the bowler refused”. At the time, Patil had said that the police were on the lookout for Sanyam, apparently a Delhi-based bookie.

The lid was blown off the story when Thara was arrested last month for gambling under the Karnataka Police Act. Patil had said that the police had “sufficient evidence to show he was betting” during the last edition of the KPL.

Soon after, on October 2, Thara as well as the Panthers franchise were suspended by the previous Karnataka State Cricket Association.

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